IFP: Spending ‘fruitless, wasteful’

2012-10-17 00:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal administration came under fire from the Inkatha Freedom Party for the increase in unauthorised and irregular spending, which stood at R3,9 billion for the financial year that ended on March 31.

IFP shadow finance MEC Roman Liptak blamed unauthorised, irregular and wasteful expenditure on the “lack of internal controls and flawed procurement procedures”.

“The figures for unauthorised, irregular, and fruitless and wasteful expenditure across the provincial government are all up on the previous audited financial year mainly due to the lack of internal controls and flawed procurement procedures,” he said.

Liptak said unauthorised spending stood at R1,2 billion, up from R265 million in the 2010/2011 financial year, while irregular expenditure totalled R2,7 billion, up from R1,4 billion two years ago.

The “fruitless and wasteful expenditure” was recorded at R93 million which was up from R12 million, Liptak said.

“In some government departments, most notably Education and Health, these figures are so overwhelming that they warranted audit qualifications for these departments.

“These two departments happen to administer KZN’s two largest budgets and in both cases dodgy expenditure is a recurring issue,” said Liptak.

He also said figures did not provide a full picture with regard to financial mismanagement within the provincial government as audit findings were based on sampling.

“In addition to insufficient internal controls, the bulk of unauthorised, irregular, and fruitless and wasteful expenditure in KZN stems from uncompetitive or unfair procurement processes and, more specifically, awards of tenders to government employees or their close relatives,” said Liptak.

But Premier Zweli Mkhize hit back at Lipstak, saying Auditor-General Terence Nombembe recently commended his administration for making progress towards achieving a clean audit.

“It is almost three years since government launched Operation Clean Audit 2014,”he said.

Mkhize said the last financial year ended with substantial savings due to austerity measures.

“We were able to fully repay our overdraft, clear unauthorised expenditure and received interest on positive cash balances. At the end of December 2011, KZN had R3,6 billion cash in the bank account.”

Mkhize also said improved financial management would better enable the province to grow and prosper.

“In managing public money properly, we have demonstrated that we are ready to take charge of our future,” he said, adding that government leadership would ensure adherence to best financial management practices.

He also said the fight against corruption in tenders would continue and that Treasury would ensure compliance with tender policy in all government departments.

“This was aimed at identifying compliance levels on supply management processes by departments when procuring goods and services.”

Mkhize added that progress was made in promoting a culture of effective risk management by establishing risk management forums and promoting continuous awareness through risk assessments.

“We are putting in place measures to eradicate practices of suppliers who offer kickback to procurement managers in order to secure contract or secure inside information,” he said.

• mayibongwe.maqhina

@witness.co.za

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