Is our Safety and Security in Safe Hands?

Jane Sithole, MPL

Spokesperson for Community Safety and Security

The Department of Community Safety and Security received a qualified audit opinion for the financial year 2013/14. This is its first qualified audit opinion in five years, a regression from their previous unqualified audits.

Under the leadership of MEC Shongwe, there has been a clear lack of direction for this department and its annual report 2013/14 speaks volumes in this regard.

According to its annual report, the department managed to achieve 60 of the 76 planned targets, citing financial mismanagement and constraints as the cause. Just last month, MEC Shongwe noted a decrease in the majority of crime categories in Mpumalanga and celebrated the achievement, however, he did not note the increase in financial mismanagement and a lack of accountability that currently has the department under siege.

According to the Auditor General’s report 2013/14, the department’s revenue amounting to over R27 million could not be accounted for.

On top of that, the Auditor Generals’ report reveals  that the department failed to provide evidence to support its accrued tax revenue of more than R233 million as well as penalties, fines and forfeits amounting to more than R105 million.

The Auditor General’s revelations did not end there. The department recorded an amount of over R130 million of fruitless and wasteful expenditure as a result of over payments of contracts the department was bound by.

To turn this department around it will require forward planning, sound financial management, zero tolerance to corruption and above all, it will require putting the interests of the people before the financial interest of those in power.

As the department that is entrusted with ensuring the safety of the people of Mpumalanga, MEC Shongwe must do everything in his power to stabilise the department of safety and security. It is clear that under his leadership, the department is disintegrating and on a downward spiral.  There is obvious lack of leadership in both the financial and political will of the department.