Women steal more from the state
Cobus Coetzee, Beeld
Johannesburg - Women are nearly twice as likely to be involved in financial misconduct within government as men.
This is according to the Civil Service Commission, after it received reports of 1 203 financial offences.
These offences were committed in the 2008-'09 financial year in both provincial and state departments nationwide.
According to the commission, 35% of all offenders were men and 65% were women.
Altogether 35 national departments admitted that financial misconduct took place in their departments, while 110 provincial departments also suffered such offences.
However, the commission said the government has only lost R100m as a result of these offences.
Accuracy in question
Derek Luyt from the Public Service Accountability Monitor said on Thursday, in reaction to the commission's report, that it is difficult to trust the accuracy of the report if one takes into account the auditor general's reports about poor financial management in state departments.
He believes there might even be a greater number of such offences.
"The commission's report did not try to determine how many cases were not reported by civil servants, nor did they determine how much might have been left out of the count," said Luyt.
According to the commission, the greatest number of offences (121) were reported on national level at the department of justice and constitutional development.
Tlali Tlali, spokesperson for justice, wrote in an email on Thursday: "Don't get carried away by sensational and context uninformed reporting... we will answer (questions) in full before the end of the day."
However, the answers never came.
Decisive action needed
KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo are the provinces where the most offences were reported on provincial level during this period.
Fraud comprised 53% of all recorded offences, and this includes fraud involving social grants, false travel claims and petty cash fraud.
Female civil servants were the biggest offenders when it came to fraud involving social grants.
The commission's report admits that the large number of offences in the government has a negative impact on people's opinion of officials and government.
"It is especially important that government act quickly and decisively against those who are involved in financial misconduct," Luyt said.
He believes departments should improve their risk management and strengthen their investigating units, as well as applying the recommendations of the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa).