Mark Steele, MPL
DA KZN Spokesperson on Scopa
The demands of the 2014 election campaign mean that the KZN provincial oversight body, Scopa, has not met as often as it should. As a result, backlogs have developed, which must now be addressed in an effort to catch up on the essential work of oversight of the province.
The legacy report of the previous Scopa portfolio committee indicates all the issues on which departments and entities have reports outstanding. The new Scopa team has a punishing schedule going forward. But it must not forget to go back and make sure that all the previous committee’s resolutions have been acted upon and where necessary remedial action taken.
The DA believes that priority must be given to the following four issues.
- Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. Provincial Treasury was due to report on 31 May 2014 on the success or otherwise of the intervention programme into the Ezemvelo supply chain management processes
- The KZN Office of the Premier was due to report by 31 July 2014 on progress made in all KZN departments with regard to the audit problems in the province’s IT systems. Scopa needs to establish whether the issues of IT governance, security, user access controls and continuity management have now been addressed
- KZN Education must still report on two outstanding issues – the need to clean up the management and records of teachers taking sick leave, and especially those on leave for a year or longer, and the problems of implementing agents not complying with the requirements for proper record keeping and reporting on expenditure. These reports were also expected by 31 May 2014
- The KZN Department of Health was expected to inform Scopa by 31 May 2014 on its action plan to address the leave entitlement liability for which a qualified audit was received. The Auditor-General could not be sure if the liability of R681.49 million was accurate. The DOH must also report on its asset management project plan.
There are also transversal resolutions which cover all departments on the perennial issues of irregular expenditure and forensic investigations, for which Scopa is also expecting to receive progress reports by the Provincial Treasury.
The responsibility to hold the executive accountable for its management of public funds cannot be shelved just because an election intervened.
Oversight must go on. The DA in KZN remains committed to the task for which its Members were elected.