Depts slammed for failure to report

2011-02-28 00:00

THE KZN Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) had to postpone meetings repeatedly at the end of last year because certain departments failed to produce reports requested.

The biggest culprit was the KZN Agriculture Department, which had seven outstanding reports. Following closely were the Social Development and Public Works departments.

The IFP’s Roman Liptak said he would not ordinarily look for quotes in the ANC Youth League, “but I could not resist one that labelled the MEC’s for Agriculture, Social Development and Public Works as dead wood and called for their redeployment,” he said.

Following the tabling of the first Scopa report for 2011 in the Legislature on Thursday, all parties praised the work of the committee. DA leader in the house, John Steenhuisen, thanked chairperson, Dr Makhosi Khoza for her stewardship. Steenhuisen pointed out that Scopas in other provinces had staff researchers and forensic accountants.

He said the KZN committee lacked that and had to deal with very serious issues in a superficial way. He urged MEC for Finance Ina Cronjé to look at the provincial budget and get staff to bolster the committee.

According to Khoza the Agriculture reports have since been handed in to the committee and will be debated shortly The reports include:

• The cancellation of a contract awarded to Sizanolwazi CC to render procurement and financial services for the Invasive Alien Species Programme.

• The forensic review of performance management and development system assessments and payment for the 2005/6 and 2006/7 financial years (together with a legal opinion from the state attorney).

• Investigation into the planting of beans in Umzimkhulu.

• Forensic investigation into Supply Chain Management — Ikusasa Lamaphephethwa Catering, Basizile Trading and Sbulelo Events Management.

• Forensic investigations into office rehabilitation in the Ugu, iLembe and Uthukela districts.

• Forensic investigation into events management services in May 2010.

Khoza said when the reports are reviewed she has asked both MEC for Finance and Agriculture to be present as well as representatives from the police’s Commercial Crimes Unit, the premier’s Anti Fraud and Corruption Unit, the Office of the State Attorney as well as members of the Agriculture Portfolio Committee.

The Department of Social Development will have to appear before Scopa on issues of unauthorised expenditure.

Public Works has to submit reports on the status quo of security and maintenance of unoccupied state-owned property as well as the 18 lawsuits it is currently involved in, with estimated damages of R22 million.

She said the outcome of these matters cannot be determined and no provision for any liability that may result has been made in the financial statements of the department. Scopa has also asked Public Works for an update on 21 internal investigations being carried out relating to procurement irregularities, abuse of departmental resources and theft and losses relating to equipment in the department.

 

 

 

Scopa held a workshop with law enforcement agencies in January. The agencies listed their concerns, which included the lack of co-operation from provincial departments in providing information, documentation and testimony in cases arising from investigations into fraud and corruption.

Scopa chairperson, Dr Makhosi Khoza, said the documentation that is called for is often not available, and witnesses are reluctant to testify in such cases, either because they don’t want to get involved or because they have been intimidated.

Khoza said that further interaction between Scopa and the law enforcement agencies will take place at least bi-annually to address problems and to move forward with major cases arising from investigations into fraud and corruption in departments.

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