After more than 2 years, administrators say Limpopo can’t manage alone

2014-03-04 16:16

The expected departure of Section 100 administrators from Limpopo by the end of this month is unlikely to happen.

Administrators said they would only leave once they were confident of leaving behind mechanisms that are not exploitable.

Chief administrator Monde Tom said they were taking no chances.

Housing tenders were stopped and R644 million in conditional grants was to be returned to state coffers unused because the tenders system was exploitable, he said.

Tom, whose team was sent in to rescue the province from a culture of maladministration, fraud and corruption – which left Limpopo unable to pay salaries – said there was a need to leave sustainable mechanisms in place that will ensure uninterrupted service delivery.

Five Limpopo government departments were placed under administration two years ago when the province racked up a R1.7 billion overdraft and R2.7 billion in unauthorised expenditure.

Tom said that although the province was now on the mend financially, the administrators still needed to make sure delivery mechanisms were in place before they could do the hand-over.

“We also want to make sure that skill is in place ... We believe that Limpopo’s finances are right, but delivery mechanisms is a matter that still needs to be addressed,” he said.

Tom said they had set themselves milestones when they took over the administration of Limpopo. “We do report on those milestones to a Cabinet committee responsible for administration monthly. If we don’t meet those milestones, we may still be here longer.”

Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha said in his state of the province address recently that his province had reclaimed its “glory days” following financial difficulties.

Mathabatha further reported a positive cash position of R4.4 billion at the end of January.

Tom believes, however, that the province was not ready to run on its own. He cited the department of cooperative governance, human settlements and traditional affairs, which stands to have R644 million of its conditional grants meant for housing returned to state coffers because the money was never utilised for the intended purpose. “We have challenges in delivery, hence grants were stopped in some departments,” Tom said.

He said the grant could not be used because the system in place for tendering for housing projects was found to be “unacceptable and exploitable”.

Tom also said there were threats to the sustainability of what they had built as administrators. “One of the threats may be individuals who are still there [who may have been involved in maladministration, fraud and corruption]. We’re certain that at the end of this process, those who are threats to sustainability will not be there.”

Mathabatha recently said that 300 people were facing internal or criminal charges for their alleged part in Limpopo’s near collapse.

Tom said his team was constantly in communication with the police and provided them with information that would help them with their investigations.

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