AG: Billions spent on consultants

2013-01-24 19:02
(Picture: Supplied)

(Picture: Supplied)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - National government departments spent R33.5bn on consultants over three years, Deputy Auditor General Kimi Makwetu said on Thursday.

Eight departments spent 74% of this total, or R24.6bn, Makwetu told reporters in Pretoria.

"There is a skills crisis. Where they do not have skills in [the] public sector they revert to sourcing the skills from [the] private sector," he said.

"To what extent are we getting value from resources from the private sector?"

He was briefing reporters on the Auditor General's (AG) performance audit of the eight national departments, and 124 contracts with service providers.

The departments, which were chosen from 42 nationally, were: correctional services, defence, environmental affairs, health, police, rural development and land reform, transport, and water affairs.

According to the summarised audit outcomes, the defence department spent the most on consultants, at R10.4bn from 2008/09 to 2010/11.

All 27 contracts concluded by correctional services were found to have problems.

"The nature of these significant deficiencies is concerning," Makwetu said.

The department of correctional services spent around R2bn on consultants.

The environmental affairs department, which spent R550m on consultants, and water affairs, R4.2bn, also had a significant number of weaknesses.

Makwetu said the health department was the exception, with successes in some areas. It had spent the least on consultants, about R416m.

The departments were selected based on the AG's assessments of possible weaknesses in the use of consultants and spending trends.

"The decision was based on historical problems... and ones which are the big spenders," said Makwetu.

The AG's report showed that consultants were being appointed in areas where permanent employees were both needed and would have been more cost effective.

Makwetu said departments lacked skilled staff.

Auditors found consultancy projects valued at R3.06bn which were initiated on the basis that there was a lack of internal capacity.

According to the report, detailed documents to support the decision to appoint consultants were not available for 63 contracts amounting to R1.9bn.

Reasons for deviation

Internal problems, which included a lack of proper needs analyses and the filling of vacant posts, had led to contracts being extended.

Forty-two contracts were extended by R1.09bn, while formal bidding processes were not followed for contracts worth R320.4m.

Reasons for deviations were not properly documented.

For 21 projects valued at R2.4bn, the contracts and payments were not properly monitored to ensure the work was done.

"This report shows that when government departments use the services of consultants without proper controls, taxpayers get far less than they pay for," Makwetu said.

"Often, the ill-planned use of consultants comes at an exorbitant cost when compared to available alternatives. Also, in certain instances, the goods produced by consultants are not used as intended."

Makwetu said the AG had already met ministers, their heads of administration, chairs of portfolio committees of the audited departments, the National Treasury and chairs of oversight committees.

All had given a "positive commitment" to fixing the problems, he said.

A performance report on provincial departments would be compiled at a later stage.


Read more on:    government spending

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


Shilowa supports Vote No campaign

Former Gauteng premier Mbhazima Shilowa has come out in support of the Vote No! Campaign launched recently by former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils and former deputy health minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, says a report.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900

The Blackberry Bold Touch 9900 is as the name says...

From R3565.00

I'm shopping for:


You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.