AG confirms ailing Lim finances

By Jacques Smalle (MPL), DA Limpopo leader:

The DA will be unrelenting in its pursuit for full accountability and transparency during the upcoming SCOPA hearings following the latest Auditor General PFMA 2014/15 report on financially precarious departments in Limpopo.

This report proves beyond reasonable doubt that Limpopo’s state of governance and its executive leadership are at the crux of many of this province’s challenges.

We are concerned that the Premier was so obsessed with achieving a clean audit that he completely neglected all 12 departments and 10 public entities in this province.

According to the AG report, Limpopo’s state of financial health is critical. The biggest culprits are the department of Health and Education who have contributed a total of R 319 million to fruitless and wasteful expenditure in two years. It is within the same period that the Dept. Education alone incurred over R3 billion in irregular expenditure.

The people of this province continue to suffer due to the chronic lack of consequence management as the AG revealed that 3 auditees could not account for R 38 million.  Furthermore, the LDoE has consistently for the past three years incurred one of the highest unauthorised expenditure in the country.

The Dept. of Education now has four consecutive disclaimers which affirm the DA’s belief that it needs an overall systemic change which strategically exceeds the Premier’s cosmetic changes of department MEC’s and officials.

Less than a third of audited provincial entities had good financial health.  The number of auditees with good financial status has significantly decreased from 43% to a staggering 29%.

The AG indicates that auditees still do not implement consequence management in response to the previous year’s transgressions.

The fact of the matter is that if a government cannot manage its finances properly, it cannot deliver the services the people need.

The AG’S report confirms that the Western Cape is the best governed province and voting for the DA in the upcoming 2016 elections will ensure freedom, fairness and opportunity for all in Limpopo.

The DA will play a pivotal role during the SCOPA period to ensure that this province finally experiences the financial oversight which this province so desperately needs.

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6th Clean Audit outcome for Community Safety

By Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety:

For the 6th consecutive year running, the Department of Community Safety (DoCS) has achieved a clean audit outcome from the Auditor General of South Africa (AGSA), while delivering effective safety oversight and interventions in the province.

The Annual Report of the Department tabled in the Provincial Parliament today is a testament to the hard work, dedication and commitment to safety that Head of Department Gideon Morris and every single employee of the department has made to help create safer environments in our province.

It reflects the challenges we have faced and the successes we have achieved, going beyond the normal call of duty to stay responsive to the growing safety demands of communities across the province.

We have overachieved on numerous indicators, including:

  • 1 153 more first level oversight visits to stations by the CPFs than the planned 1 600 target;
  • 143 more cases monitored by the Watching Briefs unit than the planned 100; and
  • Training of an additional 448 Neighbourhood Watch members above the 1 500 planned.

I thank each and every employee for their commitment to building safer communities in our province, in partnership with the communities we serve.

The past year has seen several national firsts for innovative safety oversight by a province:

  • The establishment of the office of the Western Cape Provincial Police Ombudsman, and appointment of Adv. Vusi Pikoli, to investigate policing inefficiency complaints from communities or the possible breakdown of the relationship between communities and the police.
  • The conclusion of the work into the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry into allegations of police inefficiency and a breakdown in the relations between the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the community of Khayelitsha.
  • The expansion of our Youth Safety and Religious Partnership programme to a total of 70 areas due to increasing demand.
  • Initiating youth safety outreaches such as educational and training opportunities in our Chrysalis Academy and through our partnership with Northlink FET College.

While there is much to celebrate, there is always room for improvement.

I look forward to even greater partnerships with the police, our communities and other government departments as we continue to work towards safer environments where people live and work.

The Department of Community Safety will remain steadfast in our oversight mandate over policing in the province with the sole aim of improving safety services for all in the Western Cape.

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Supra’s North West: shining example of ANC governance

By Joe McGluwa (MPL), DA NW Leader:

The Democratic Alliance in North West is concerned after the latest Auditor General Report (2014-2015)  reveals that non-compliance with supply chain management legislation led to the increase of irregular expenditure from R1.2 billion last year, to nearly double, R2.1 billion.

 

Besides the wastage of tax payers’ money the office of the Public Protector has revealed that North West tops the list for corruption cases under investigation this year.
At least five municipalities are placed under administration, amid alleged maladministration, mismanagement of finances and corruption.

Four provincial departments have also been placed under financial administration and the Public Protector confirmed governance challenges, serious challenges at the municipal level in terms of municipalities as a lot of municipalities here are under administration.

 

The Departments of Public Works and Roads and Community Safety and Transport Management, as well as the Department of Health continue to be in a shambolic state.

 

The Auditor General’s General Report on the North West Provincial Audit Outcomes for 2014/2015 has clearly identified these two departments as the main culprits responsible for poor performance and transgressions of supply chain rules and protocols.

 

It is a known fact that due to mismanagement in the Public Works Department, not even half of the R103 million allocated to road upgrades will be used for its intended purpose this year.

As a result there are a lot of resources channelled incorrectly between departments.

 

The AG further stated that failure to implement basic key controls throughout the year remains a concern. This includes inadequate record management, lack of daily and monthly processes that guides generation of financial and performance reporting and related reconciliation controls, and poor in-year monitoring of compliance with laws and regulations.

 

The DA agrees with the following recommendation from the AG to improve the audit outcomes:

 

 

  • Appointment of competent and experienced staff in key vacant positions.
  • Urgent attention given to the appointment of board of directors at all public entities and ensuring stability within these boards. ·
  • The audit committees, with internal audit, should assist the accounting officers to address internal control deficiencies and ensure that internal and external audit recommendations are implemented.
  • Establishment of audit committees and internal audit functions at all public entities.
  • The executive authorities should continue to be actively involved, specifically with the monitoring of audit actions plans to address prior year findings.
  • The provincial public accounts committee and the provincial legislature should hold accounting officers who continue to underperform and contravene laws and regulations accountable for their actions. This specifically includes investigation of previous years’ unauthorised, irregular as well as fruitless and wasteful expenditure and taking the necessary disciplinary steps against transgressors.

 

 

Officials in North West go around with tax payers’ money, not being kept accountable if they are non-complaint. This is nothing more than common theft from the people of North West.

 

Where the DA governs we have achieved more clean audit outcomes than any other province.

Of the 24 auditees in the DA-governed Western Cape:

  • Two departments and one entity improved to clean audit status;
  • 10 departments and seven entities maintained their clean audit status; and
  • One newly formed entity attained a clean audit.

 

The DA remains the only party capable of building an open-opportunity society based on the values of Freedom, Fairness and Opportunity.

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Let’s build a prosperous Mpumalanga

The Auditor General recently released a report stating that the Irregular Expenditure in the province had climbed to a total of R2.3 billion. As much as 95% of this money was irregularly spent by two of our most vital departments; the Department of Health and the Department of Education.

Financial mismanagement in Mpumalanga is too high and this no doubt influences the quality of services delivered to our people.

R2.3 billion is what it would cost to build at least 40 000 good quality RDP houses and clear the housing backlog in many municipalities.

R2.3 billion could be used to build training facilities for young people to ensure that they get real jobs and are not simply left idling on the streets, abusing drugs and getting involved in criminal activities.

R2.3 billion could see the government creating systems to improve public healthcare for all Mpumalanga’s residents.

It can longer be denied that Mpumalanga’s potential is being held back by the performance of its government under the leadership of Premier David Mabuza and his cabinet.

Year on year, Premier Mabuza makes a call to put an end to officials doing business with government but nothing has come of this. The door for corruption and nepotism has been left wide open and there are no real plans in place to close it.

Last year, the Provincial Government abandoned its “Operation Clean Audit” mission which stipulated that all departments and municipalities would achieve clean audits by 2014. This has opened the gates for vital departments to regress, widening the gap between residents of Mpumalanga and the delivery of quality services.

Clean audits in Mpumalanga have decreased from 5 to 4, audits that were unqualified with findings decreased from 8 to 7, and qualified audits increased from 4 to 6.

By abandoning initiatives that seemingly aim at uplifting the provincial government, and blatantly ignoring recommendations made by Chapter 9 institutions, it is becoming clear that the ANC is not interested in seeing the people of Mpumalanga prosper. It is also becoming increasingly clear that the ANC is not interested in turning this province into the economic powerhouse it should be.

Together with the people of Mpumalanga, the DA can build this province and place it amongst the best in South Africa.

A DA government would ensure that there is legislation that prevents officials from doing business with government. Those who are suspected to be in contravention of this legislation would be suspended pending the outcome of their cases.

This would root out the seeds of corruption and ensure that there are fair opportunities for legitimate business to grow and to thrive.

There have been numerous reports of residents protesting against businesses for not hiring local residents.

Under a DA government, this would not happen because we would ensure that opportunities to gain skills that would boost the chances of employment are open to everyone. The government’s current Extended Public Works Programme only transfers limited skills that are unlikely to lead to real jobs.

When the conditions are created for businesses to thrive, and people have skills that makes them employable, Mpumalanga’s economy will grow and this province will be a better place for all of us.

We, the people of Mpumalanga deserve better. The DA is committed to establishing a clean government that will uplift the conditions of our people. Together with you, we can build an inclusive economy where opportunities to prosper are open to everyone.

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Auditor General diagnoses Mpumalanga Health Department as terminal

By Jane Sithole, MPL, Spokesperson on Health:

With irregular expenditure reaching close to R2 billion, it is no wonder the Mpumalanga Department of Health has been diagnosed as terminal.

In the annual report for the 2014/15 financial year, the Auditor General (AG) indicated that Health MEC, Gillion Mashego’s department has regressed even further and obtained yet another qualified opinion.

The Department of Health was already in a critical condition before it was placed under curatorship last year but under the leadership of MEC Mashego, it has made a turn for the worse. And even after the curatorship was lifted late last year, the Health Department didn’t get any better.

The AG’s report shows that the department of Health is facing serious challenges which include;

  • Irregular expenditure that have skyrocketed to R1.9 billion;
  • Claims against the department have increased to R1.4 billion;
  • Unauthorized expenditure stands at R10 million;
  • Accruals that carry a bill of R357 million;
  • Fruitless and wasteful expenditure which comes in at R3.6 million

Click here to view report.

The DA firmly believes that the department’s curatorship should never have been lifted and as such, calls on the province’s executive to reinstate the curatorship until such time that the Health Department makes meaningful progress.

The department’s inability to manage its finances negatively affects the 88% of Mpumalanga citizens who use the public health facilities on a daily basis. MEC Mashego must put his shoulder to the wheel and ensure that his department recovers so that the people of Mpumalanga can access decent healthcare.

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Clean audits, but thousands remain homeless – Coghsta MEC must account

By Jacques Smalle (MPL), DA Limpopo spokespersons on Cohgsta:

The DA will request the portfolio committee of Coghsta to summon MEC Makoma Makhurupetje to account for the poor project management of the province’s human settlement programme.

For the past three financial years, MEC Makhurupetje has been promising homes and integrated living spaces to the citizens of this province who desperately need houses in her budget votes.

Yet, in reality:

  • 84% of housing beneficiaries are still waiting for housing properties to be officially transferred into their names
  • 50 hectares of land targeted for crucial service delivery projects has to date not been acquired
  • Not one of the 250 rental units promised was ever built
  • The department did not connect any of the 500 targeted new sites for connection to basic water and sanitation services which is part of the Integrated Residential Development Programme
  • Just 309 out of 3000 units were registered and endorsed.

This development is at the core of Coghsta’s departmental mandate, yet a number of targets under the integrated sustainable human settlements programme have suffered for the past 3 years despite favourable audit opinions.

In the 2013/14 financial year, at least 10 500 RDP homes were planned and budgeted for but a mere 2 877 houses were built due to delay in procurement processes.

The 2014/15 Annual report indicates that it failed yet again to reach the target and only built 2 065.

More disturbingly, of the R923 829 million allocated, there was once again significant under spending of R246 million in 2014/15, projects remain unfinished and there is no value for money in output.

The above mentioned failures are just not about the systemic failure of the department’s procurement processes. This is an indication that the ANC government simply does not care about the people of Limpopo.

This department’s inefficiencies led to R644 million being returned back to National Treasury in 2012/13.

In the 2013/14 financial year, the programme under spent the total allocated budget by R449,4 million.

A number of concerning issues were identified by the AG’s audit of the department:

  • Cumulative irregular expenditure of R 487 820
  • Annual financial statements were not in accordance with section 40 (1)(b) of the PFMA
  • No proper oversight on financial and performance reporting and compliance and internal control exercised by leadership.

We are concerned that neither the 8500 for 2015/16 nor the 80 000 units in 2019 which were promised by the MEC to the people of this province will ever materialize.

The DA believes that houses are an asset which will enable the poorest in our communities to retain their dignity and empower many out of trappings of poverty and debt.

It is high time that MEC Makhurupetje stops gloating about her department’s clean audit outcome which is a material expectation of government, but rather focus on achieving her housing targets.

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MEC must stop performance bonuses for relevant senior staff

By Mark Steele, MPL, DA KZN Spokesperson on Scopa:

TODAY, KZN Transport MEC, Willies Mchunu chose not to attend his own department’s annual Scopa oversight hearing, instead opting to go to an in-house Sukume Sakhe function.

That he chose to avoid this important performance enquiry, which follows the Auditor-General’s report, speaks volumes about his priorities.

Today’s hearing revealed that KZN’s Transport department;

–          Has two qualifications within its audit with six other matters

–          Faces potentially huge irregular expenditure after the Auditor-General found massive non-disclosure by the department

–          Used 38 consultants at a cost of R937million – a moved questioned by the AG.

This department has gone from a clean audit to a qualified audit for the past two years. This regression is extremely serious.  It is money that could have been spent improving KZN’s road network amongst others.

Had the MEC attended today, he would have been confronted by a united Scopa, one which declared his department’s response to audit findings as ‘hopelessly inadequate’.

The DA expects MEC Mchunu to send out a very clear signal that this regression is unacceptable.  To start with he must withhold performance bonuses from all relevant senior staff.

The DA expects nothing less.  This department must get back on track.

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Education Department carries bill of nearly half a billion in irregular expenditure

By Jane Sithole MPL, DA Spokesperson on Education:

The Mpumalanga Department of Education has accumulated a total of nearly half a billion rand on irregular expenditure.

This was revealed in the 2014/15 annual report which shows that in the last financial year alone, the department has netted R161 million on irregular expenditure bringing the total bill to nearly half a billion.

Click here for Annual Report.

The department has also regressed in its audit outcomes. For a Mpumalanga learner, this means that the Education department has not only failed to account for millions that could have been used to improve the quality of education, but it also means that Education MEC, Reginah Mhaule’s department has taken a step back in providing the key to an improved quality of life.

According to the Auditor General (AG), the qualified opinion came as a result of the department not having adequate systems to maintain records of immovable tangible capital assets to the value of over R1 billion.

Despite Premier David Mabuza’s repeated calls to put an end to officials doing business with government, the AG once again reported on employees of the department of Education having private or business interests in contracts awarded to their family members, partners or associates. These employees failed to disclose their interests giving room for nepotism and corruption to thrive.

In the 2014/15 financial year, 53 investigations by the Office of the Premier’s Integrity Monitoring unit relating to alleged procurement irregularities, fraud, corruption, theft and misuse of funds by employees in the Education department were underway.

Education is a constitutional right, a basic human right, and the best possible vehicle to empower South Africans. As such, MEC Mhaule must tighten her department’s internal controls to root out any corruption and nepotism and pull the reigns on her department to prevent it from continuing on this downwards spiral.

The DA hopes that the 53 investigations will yield positive results and mark the start of a turning point in the Department of Education where the wellbeing of learners and the delivery of quality education is placed first.  Education is vital to pursuing a better life.

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NW Director General sent packing and ordered to go and prepare to account for AG’ report

By Chris Hattingh (MPL), DA North West Caucus Leader Provincial Legislature:

The Democratic Alliance in the North West is concerned after a public meeting scheduled in the Office of the Premier was abruptly ended today after it became clear that officials were not properly prepared for it.

The North West Provincial Legislature’s Portfolio Committee on Premier, Finance, Economy and Enterprise Development met with the delegation from the Office of the Premier today.

The delegation provided incorrect financial figures to the Portfolio Committee and could not provide information regarding previous Legislature resolutions pertaining to the Auditor General’s report of previous years.

The committee sent the delegation along with North West Director General, Dr Lydia Sebego, packing and ordered them to prepare themselves properly.

The Office of the Premier has to account to the AG following findings:

  • For the 2014/15 financial year the Office of the Premier failed to spend R67, 865M increasing its underspending from 2% in 2013/14 to 9% in 2014/15
  • Unauthorised expenditure of R16M in respect to previous years which had not been dealt with in accordance with Section 34 of the PFMA
  • Irregular expenditure of R32 257 000 incurred in the current financial year
  • R236 856 000 in irregular expenditure that is still waiting condonation
  • Fruitless and wasteful expenditure of R22 800 000 for the current year and R880 000 spending from prior years has not been resolved

Furthermore the DA is concerned that Youth Development in the North West has failed for yet another year. The following reasons were provided in the Premier’s Annual Report:

  • The annual plan of action on Youth Development could not be established due to capacity constraints
  • Youth Entrepreneurship Services was not taking place due to changes taking place in the Office of the Premier

It is concerning that the Office of the Premier which is supposed to champion the North West Provincial Government failed to account to the Portfolio Committee on its annual reports specifically the AG’s findings.

It appears that the ANC governing party is more concerned with window dressing to impress voters for the upcoming local elections than providing quality service delivery and clean governance.

The North West government has been devastated by mismanagement, wasteful and over-expenditures, all because of a government that places the needs of unqualified cadres ahead of the needs of its people.

In the 2014/15 financial year, the DA-led Western Cape received 100% clean audit report. This is the same outcomes we want to deliver in the North West when we are elected to govern.

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Irregular Expenditure in Mpumalanga doubles to R2.3 billion

James Masango MPL, Leader of the Official Opposition:

The Auditor General (AG) report has revealed that Mpumalanga government departments has spent over R2 billion in irregular expenditure in the past financial year which ended in March 2015.

The AG was presenting the Audit outcomes to the Members of the Provincial Legislature (MPL’s) in Mbombela on Wednesday.

(Click here for the AG’s detailed report)

According to the report, 95% of the irregular expenditure that occurred was contributed by the departments of Health and Education, as well as procurement agents.

The DA notes the trend that Mpumalanga government disregards recommendations made by Chapter 9 institutions and in particular the AG year after year.

This disregard of the AG’s recommendation has now led to the Mpumalanga provincial departments regression in the audit outcomes in the last financial year.

Regression in the overall provincial outcomes is evident with clean audits decreasing from 5 to 4, unqualified with findings decreased from 8 to 7, and qualified increased from 4 to 6.

The AG noted with concern that the audit outcomes converted to Rands, indicated that Mpumalanga departments were responsible for 71% of the R37 billion budget allocation which resulted in a qualified audit.

A DA government would strive to obtain clean audits in all its departments.

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