By Francois Rodgers, MPL, DA KZN Spokesperson on Finance:
A SERIES of parliamentary questions submitted by the DA to KZN government departments has revealed that more than R1.2billion is currently under forensic investigation for the 2014/15 financial year.
According to the replies, the worst three offenders are KZN’s Social Development department with R695 million being probed, followed by KZN Transport at R527 million and the province’s Education department at R153 million.
The overall figure under investigation in the province remains uncertain as some departments were unable to supply accurate data.
The DA’s questions were framed around KZN Premier, Senzo Mchunu and provincial Finance MEC, Belinda Scott statements regarding ‘zero tolerance’ on fraud and corruption and sound fiscal management and consolidation by the province.
The question posed to all provincial departments queried the number and total financial implications of forensic investigations underway during the current financial year.
Apart from the obvious enormity of these figures, it is clear that there is very little financial management and control within most KZN departments. Certainly officials do not have their finger on the pulse.
To complicate matters, it is apparent from responses that the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing, with blatant contradictions unfolding between the number and value of certain departmental forensic investigations and the information supplied by Provincial Treasury.
This casual attitude to accountability for public funds is totally unacceptable.
The DA has always regarded the phrase – zero tolerance – as “lip service” and believed that there would be little or no political “buy-in” from departments in particular those with further challenges relating to capacity as a result of cadre deployment.
The responses from KZN departments are a clear vindication of the DA’s sentiments on this subject.
It is increasingly clear that leaving provincial finances in the hands of the ANC in KZN spells disaster for its residents.
The DA is committed to exposing each and every department that lacks sound financial discipline. We will also ensure that our MPL’s interrogate MEC’s and HOD’s in a bid to stop this drastic fiscal evaporation and ensure that accurate financial information is forthcoming.
Provincial political heads must know, once and for all, that this is not “monopoly money” they are playing with. It is money that belongs to the people of KZN.