Situation at public works 'salvageable'
Johannesburg - Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde on Monday night stressed her "deep concern" about the auditor general's (AG) report on her department.
"As I anticipated and already announced, the AG has issued a disclaimer regarding the department's financial administration," she said.
"This is for the financial period 2010/11. The report makes troubling reading for any South African. There is a clear record of financial mismanagement running into hundreds of millions of rand," she said.
"All I can promise South Africa is that we will sort this mess out and turn the department around. That is my job and I will fulfil it."
The minister said that problems in the department make swift progress difficult.
"The auditor general is not telling us anything we do not already know and deeply regret. But the situation is salvageable, the majority of people in the department are honest and hard-working and ashamed of their corrupt colleagues.
"Working together with these people, progress towards financial stability and good corporate governance is underway. It's about strong financial controls, committed leadership and integrity."
The minister said it was particularly troubling that the AG was so critical of the department's Property Management Trading Entity (PMTE).
"This organisation was set up so that government could get better control of its property portfolio but the AG's report shows that this intention has not been properly implemented and the PMTE is not fully functional.
"As a matter of urgency the PMTE needs to be reviewed and I will be discussing it with the minister of finance."
The minister said that the most important thing now is for the people who are trying to sort out the problems to have full support.
"No minister could honestly promise to sort out a situation like this overnight, but we are working really hard to improve things and are making progress," she said.