AfriForum begins national campaign, lays charges against senior KZN health official

2018-11-05 19:13
(via Web)

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AfriForum's national campaign to have the heads of provincial health departments charged with misappropriating funds commenced in KwaZulu-Natal on Monday.

Led by its KwaZulu-Natal coordinator Eugene van Aswegen, AfriForum laid criminal charges against former head of the provincial department of health Sifiso Mtshali at the Vryheid police station.

After studying the financials of the department, the group claimed Mtshali was guilty of offences in terms of section 86(1) of the Public Finance Management Act, 1999 (Act No. 1 of 1999).

"AfriForum is of the opinion that the misuse of taxpayers' money is a national crisis," Van Aswegen said on Monday.

He said taxpayers had to put pressure on the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) "to make examples of heads of departments who do not fulfill their duties as prescribed by the act".

"They are some of the biggest perpetrators in the misuse of taxpayers' money," said Van Aswegen.

Taxpayers 'let down'

The KwaZulu-Natal health department's annual report indicated that it incurred irregular expenditure of R1.3bn in the 2016/2017 financial year.

The department also incurred unauthorised expenditure amounting to R18.9m and fruitless and wasteful expenditure of R5.7m, also in the 2016/2017 financial year.

Irregular expenditure is made up of expenses that are inconsistent with Public Finance Management Act. Unauthorised expenditure comprises expenses incurred contrary to the approved budget.

Fruitless and wasteful expenditure are expenses made in vain, and that could have been prevented if reasonable precaution had been taken.

"The charges against the department heads are based on alleged financial misappropriation in terms of the act. They must prevent irregular, fruitless, wasteful and unauthorised expenditure and must hold guilty parties accountable. The department heads let taxpayers down by failing to fulfill their duties," Van Aswegen said.

AfriForum will visit all nine provinces between November 5 and 9 to lay criminal charges against the heads of each provincial health department.

The national and provincial departments of health were not available to comment after multiple attempts on Monday.

Department spokesperson Ncumisa Mafunda said on Tuesday, "The department notes the action by AfriForum and the department will attend to the matter through the standard legal processes that will unfold."

*This story has been updated to include the department's comment.

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