Mpumalanga Irregular Expenditure Exceeds R1bn Mark

Anthony Benadie MPL

Spokesperson on Finance

Irregular Expenditure by Mpumalanga Provincial Government departments has exceeded the one billion rand mark in the 2013/2014 financial year, with the Department of Health (R818 mil), Department of Education (R56 mil) and the Office of the Premier (R68 mil) being the highest contributor to the 142 instances of irregular expenditure, as found by the Auditor General.

While the ANC-led government is desperate to parade the 2013/2014 departmental Audit Outcomes as an achievement, a briefing by the Auditor General, Mr TK Makwetu, to Members of the Provincial Legislature today, paints a different picture. Mpumalanga’s finances are not at all healthy and left unaddressed, could see our financial stability and viability deteriorate to the point of terminal illness.

From the Auditor General’s presentation it was revealed that:

  • Only five departments received an unqualified audit opinion with no findings,
  • Eight departments received an unqualified audit opinion with findings,
  • Four departments (a regression from the 2012/13 financial year), received qualified audit opinion with findings,
  • The Annual Performance Reports of only 53% of auditees (departments) were useful and reliable,
  • There was significant non-compliance with legislation by 71% (or 12) provincial departments,
  • 53% of departments did not comply with Supply Chain Management processes,
  • Unauthorised expenditure to the value of R18,2 million was incurred (a significant reduction from the R136mil in the 2012-13 financial year), however
  • Irregular Expenditure skyrocketed from R234 million in 2012-13, to a whopping R1,008 billion in the 2013-14 financial year, and
  • Fruitless and Wasteful expenditure to the value of R7,4 million was incurred during the financial year.

In terms of Irregular expenditure, the AG found that two of the top three highest contributors did not have a permanent person occupying the ‘Head of Supply Chain’ position. Violating the supply chain process generally implies that tender processes were not followed and that procurement was not conducted in an open and transparent manner. Essentially departments were ignoring due process and contracting services from preferred (read well-connected) service providers.

Of concern is that the Provincial Legislature, tasked with holding the Executive authority to account, was cited as one of the highest contributors to fruitless and wasteful expenditure, followed by the department of Education and dysfunctional parastatal MEGA.

While the AG and annual reports of departments stand referred to the various relevant portfolio committees, the DA will thoroughly analyse each report to measure the performance of government against their set targets. While recognising progress and achievements, our responsibility lies in holding the executive to account, not singing the ANC’s praises.