Dept foots neighbour’s bill

2010-01-20 00:00

SHARING services with the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) is a nightmare. This is how the head of department of KwaZulu-Natal’s Social Welfare Department, Bheki Nkosi, describes the situation in which his department is left to pay the cost of shared office space, utility bills and maintenance. It then struggles to get the money from national government.

The matter was highlighted during a meeting of the province’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) yesterday. Nkosi was briefing Scopa on the Auditor-General’s report on his department. Auditor-general Herman van Zyl had raised over-expenditure as an issue of concern.

Nkosi said the department ends up paying for water, electricity, office space and even telephone accounts on behalf of Sassa — and the agency does not honour its debts.

He said this is because the money has to be claimed from national Treasury, where different procedures apply.

When leasing shared property, the department encounters problems because it falls under the provincial Public Works Department, while Sassa falls under the national department.

The provincial Treasury has been tasked with engaging the national Treasury. MEC Meshack Radebe said a task team has been set up to work out the amount owed on administration, legal fees and service claims before the end of the financial year.




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