De Lille gets help from Mabuza to help recoup billions from govt departments

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Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille.
Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille.
Bonolo Selibano, Gallo Images
  • Patricia de Lille has called on government departments to pay for services delivered by her department.
  • Due to non-payment, De Lille says her department has incurred an overdraft of R4.2 billion.
  • Deputy President David Mabuza is stepping in to help resolve the matter.

Deputy President David Mabuza has stepped in to get government departments to pay for services delivered by the public works department, according to Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille.

De Lille briefed Parliament on Wednesday morning.

READ | De Lille gunning for events company involved in dodgy state funeral contracts

De Lille told the legislature's committee on public works and infrastructure that the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) has been struggling to recoup money owed to it.

"We have attempted to collect user charges from departments to an extent that the matter has been set with the deputy president. He will convene a meeting between myself and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, where we are going to look at this.

"Treasury believes the current system is working - it is just that we need to get government departments to change the culture of non-payment and pay for services," De Lille said.

De Lille said every effort is being made to recoup billions.

"The deputy president was very clear that, if we want households to pay for their services, we must lead by example in government. We are working hard to save the situation because we currently have close to R4.2 billion as overdraft and the Auditor-General (AG) has also raised concerns.

"We are paying for the services, but the departments are not paying us back. This is an issue that needs urgent attention and we need a solution as soon as possible," she said.

READ ALSO | Multimillion-rand public works lease with KZN company invalid - court

Another problem, De Lille said, is that the little money they recoup from user departments also have to fund the DPWI's facilities management.

"Currently we are doing reactive stuff. To deal with the delays of maintenance of government buildings, I have asked them to put out a term tender, so that we have service providers on call to come and attend to any maintenance complaints.

"Without fail, every single year the Property Management Trading Entity receives a qualified audit. We are headed there again this year.

"The main reason for this is the immovable asset register. The AG shows us that register and the way we are determining the value of an asset is not right. We have not been able to fix that," she said.

De Lille has called on Parliament to assist the department.

DPWI chief financial officer Mandla Sithole said in his presentation to the committee that the average spending on a monthly basis is R1.3 billion.

"[The] average recovery is 60 to 90 days, resulting in R7.2 billion outstanding," he said.

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