Government wastes R30.8bn, culprits get away scot-free

2013-11-13 15:58

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The latest audit report of national and provincial government shows that wastage now stands at about R30.8 billion.

Outgoing Auditor-General (AG) Terence Nombembe released his audit reports of national and provincial departments and their entities in Parliament today.

Financial wastage is made up of unauthorised expenditure (R2.3 billion), irregular expenditure (R26.4 billion) and fruitless and wasteful expenditure (more than R2.1 billion).

Last year, unauthorised, irregular and fruitless and wasteful expenditure for departments, excluding entities, amounted to R24.8 billion. Read: R25bn down the drain The total amount was R33 billion. But the latest reports do show an improvement from the previous years.

Nombembe said the good news was that government was paying attention to wasteful and irregular expenditure, adding that it was important to avoid the recurrence of wastage going forward.

Even though public finance laws sanction officials who are found guilty of flouting the law, there have been no successful prosecution of culprits.

Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said this is why government was taking steps by coming up with laws to bring the guilty to book.

She said when government tried to do this in the past “the processes” have been belaboured.

Sisulu said the mooted laws would attempt to close “that loophole”.

The other good news is that 105 (22%) departments and entities have received clean reports compared with 17% last year (the financial year ended March 2012).

The AG said this was an indication that things were moving in the right direction, and thanked the executive for its interventions.

Among the provinces, only North West has remained stagnant. Audit outcomes in Limpopo and Gauteng declined. Nombembe said the situation in Gauteng could be blamed on entities as departments had done well, and the fact that Gauteng started off on a higher base than other provinces.

He said it was important for the auditees that had improved to avoid backsliding.

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