What a waste!

2012-01-21 20:16

South Africa’s nine provinces wasted R21 billion between them in the past financial year – enough to pay off Gauteng’s expensive highways or build 600 schools.

As the national government adopted an iron-fist approach towards bankrupt Limpopo this week, Auditor-General Terence Nombembe revealed the shocking wastage of public funds by more provincial departments.

Sympathisers of Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale and his administration have accused Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan of singling out the province. But sources in the National Treasury have pointed out Limpopo is different from the other provinces: it has run out of cash.

An in-depth analysis of Nombembe’s findings about unauthorised, irregular and wasteful expenditure by the provinces, compared to their budgets, revealed that:

» The Northern Cape wasted 15.07% (R1.4 billion) of its entire budget for 2010/11. “MECs and HODs did not adequately review the implementation of key controls,” Nombembe said.

» Gauteng squandered 10.9% (R6.6 billion) of its budget on unauthorised, irregular and wasteful expenditure. Nombembe blamed leadership that did not take full ownership and accountability for the preparation of financial statements.

» The Eastern Cape wasted 9.9% (R4.8 billion) of its budget. Nombembe commented: “It is evident the provincial administration still has a long road ahead towards achieving clean administration.”

Last year, the total figure for wasted expenditure by all state departments and public entities was R20.6?billion.

This year, the total has increased by R5.7 billion to R26.3 billion.

The national department with the highest percentage (16.2% or R1.04 billion) of wasted spending was Home Affairs.

The biggest contributor to the wastage was the flawed R2 billion “Who Am I Online” tender. R321 million was written off as a result of the tender being cancelled.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has now intervened and will investigate the awarding of the contract to listed IT company Gijima.

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