Scopa’s Nkosi berates officials and questions their ability to do the job

2013-10-18 00:00

OFFICIALS of the Community Safety and Liaison Department yesterday received a tongue-lashing from the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) for continuously incurring irregular expenditure, and flouting tender policies and other laws governing taxpayers’ money.

This came as Scopa scrutinised the department’s finances and its report from the Auditor-General. The department obtained a qualified audit opinion for 2012/13.

“The thing that worries me as a taxpayer is that of paying public servants who ignore legal prescripts and are found wanting on the same thing year in and year out,” Scopa chairman Sipho Nkosi said.

In his report, the Auditor-General found that the department had underspent its budget by R25,4 million due to savings in the administration arising from unfilled vacant posts and the implementation of cost-cutting measures.

The department had not spent 45% of its capital budget and conditional grants were underspent by 53%.

The department later admitted to Scopa that it had not applied for funds forfeited to the Treasury to be returned.

The A-G found that goods and services totalling over R13 million were procured without obtaining the required three price quotes, and there was irregular expenditure of R13,8 million due to the flouting of tender policies.

The department was also found to have supplied unreliable information on certain issues contained in the audit.

Nkosi said it was disappointing that the department was still found wanting since it had also been cited for failing to follow tender policies in 2011/12.

“I don’t get the real answers as to why you commit such a hideous crime of undermining the processes, procedures and laws of our land year in and year out.

“We really would plead with you to do what is expected of you to do. You can’t be qualified and found wanting on the same thing every year.

“I can anticipate that you will be found wanting in 2013/14 unless you change. You have opportunity and enough time to change, unless you tell me you have no qualifications,” he said.

Nkosi added it was concerning that a department with a small budget could not account for its funds.

The DA’s Sizwe Mchunu questioned the department’s intention in providing unreliable information to the Auditor-General. “Is it an attempt to mislead the A-G, or that you did not know what information to provide?” he asked.

Responding to some of the issues raised, the department’s chief finance officer, Eric Ramsamy, said the use of blanket approvals had been abandoned and deviation from the use of three quotes was a rare occurrence now.

He said the department had issued a circular to all staff to enforce compliance with tender procedures. Underspending of the budget was due to savings in the compensation of employees and prudent cost-cutting.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.