Unfunded jobs: IFP accuses KZN of duplicity

2012-03-16 00:00

THE IFP has accused the provincial government of duplicity, saying it preaches austerity while filling unfunded posts.

The main culprits are the Department of Education, with 8 311 people employed beyond its budget, and the Office of the Premier, with 4 600 youth ambassadors when only 1 966 were budgeted for, according to IFP shadow finance minister Roman Liptak.

“Employing thousands of people by some departments without budgeting for this expenditure flies in the face of the KZN government’s effort to balance its books as it emerges from a multi-billion rand overdraft,” said Liptak yesterday.

He was speaking during the finance portfolio committee budget hearings yesterday.

The premier’s office appeared before the committee and had to field several questions on the youth ambassadors.

It is a programme in which youth in the community work for a period of two years with families affected by poverty, the HIV/Aids pandemic and social ills like alcohol and drug abuse.

Premier Zweli Mkhize said the numbers changed according to how communities responded.

The province’s director-general, Nhlanhla Ngidi, assured the finance committee there would be no overexpenditure as a result of the project.

“I want to put my head on the block and say that at the end of the financial year, March 31, there won’t be overexpenditure in the Office of the Premier.”

Ngidi said he had been monitoring the department’s finances on a daily basis since January to ensure this would happen.

Finance committee chairperson Belinda Scott told him: “We will take your word for that.”

Mkhize said there was confusion over the youth ambassadors and suggested that all departments involved come together to give the legislature a full briefing on the project.

Heads of the Education Department will be appearing before the finance portfolio committee today.

Attempts by The Witness to obtain an explanation yesterday about the unfunded posts proved fruitless as senior members could not be reached.

Liptak will be asking for a response. “Employing people over and above the departmental budgets amounts to unauthorised expenditure and the accounting officers in the departments where this is happening must be held accountable in terms of the PFMA [Public Management Financial Act].”

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