Public Protector seeks R884m more from Treasury

2017-10-05 19:57

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Cape Town – Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane told Parliament on Thursday that her office had asked Treasury for additional funding of R884m over the next three years.

Mkhwebane was presenting her office's annual report for 2016/17 to the portfolio committee on justice and correctional services. The Public Protector ended the financial year with a deficit of more than R18m. 

Furthermore, the auditor general raised concerns about the Office of the Public Protector's financial ability to continue operating.

The auditor general's report states that the Public Protector's current liabilities exceed its total assets by more than R20m, which indicates that material uncertainty exists that casts doubts on the entity's ability to continue as a going concern.

Several members of the committee expressed concern about the body's financial state.

"Your spending has really rocketed," said acting committee chairperson Charlotte Pilane-Majake.

"Indeed, it is a very serious concern for us, our financial position," Mkhwebane said.

Praise for cost-cutting

She said the deficit was due to "legacy" issues. The entity reached a settlement with the previous chief financial officer, who is no longer at the Public Protector. 

Mkhwebane also said the entity had instituted several cost-cutting measures, which include a reduction in the travel and subsistence budget, savings on advertising for recruitment, reduced catering, the cancellation of the use of consultants and the appointment of a legal panel board in an effort to reduce costs for legal fees.

After the meeting, Pilane-Majake issued a press statement in which she noted the Public Protector's request for additional funding for her office.

Pilane-Majake commended the Public Protector for her office's attempts at saving money and assured her that the committee would give consideration to the request for additional funding.

"The committee also recommended cost-saving measures such as doing away with rental leases and using state-owned buildings, reviewing positions and freezing positions with lesser output," read the statement.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane before she addressed the portfolio committee on justice and correctional services on Thursday. (Jan Gerber, News24)

Read more on:    public protector  |  busisiwe mkhwebane

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