President Zuma and Minister Gordhan won't end wasteful expenditure

2016-02-13 17:07

Before President Zuma came into office in 2009, then incoming Premier of the Western Cape Helen Zille warned government about wasting public money. Zille instituted measures in the Western Cape that would save public money. These included spending on luxury cars for MEC's and ensured that her administration has internal control measures so that public money is not wasted in the everyday workings of the provincial government. She then challenged President Zuma's incoming administration to do the same. Of course they did not listen as usual. The comrades must eat mos.

In the last year of President Zuma's first term, Minister Gordhan again urged public institutions to refrain from wasting public money on unnecessary things but the comrades shall eat and so the wastage continued.

Now life is getting harder for the ordinary South Africans and Former Finance Minister Nene had warned that government cannot keep spending money they do not have. Then we see more talks of budget cuts.

But all of these talks are just that, talks. Minister Gordhan may announce budget cuts, and use economy class when flying around the country, but his comrades will never stop looting from the public purse. Whatever little amount is available to be spent, there will always be "irregular, wasteful, fruitless, and unauthorised" expenditure on the Auditor General's annual reports. And nothing happens to the leadership in those institutions.

Minister Gordhan knows too well how the comrades systematically loot public money at local government. In Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg, Pretoria, irregular, wasteful, fruitless, and unauthorised expenditure amounts to over R3 billion for the last audited financial year if you add it all up. Its even worse when the tender documents magically disappear so there is nothing to account for money spent. And Port Elizabeth is used to having such wastage year on year.

Then we had fancy cars for our traditional leaders so they can drive through villages during the election campaign to line up voters for our no longer beloved liberation movement. The money wasted on food, useless workshops (I've attended a few, great food, tax money is yummy) is nothing compared to how much awarding  a tender to a comrade who cannot deliver costs. And the citizens bear the brunt of this.

It is not just what the money is spent on, but how it is spent too. Because the job of every accounting officer in government is to ensure that tax money goes as far as it can possibly go in improving the lives of the people. Essentially, get the best deal for the struggling South African citizens who now have to live with the consequences of having a corrupt regime. When you do not have an open, transparent, fair tender process, and only pretend to have one, you get the most expensive service provider doing a crappy job.

Nkandla remains what Maimane  and Malema called a monument of corruption. For in Nkandla, as Madonsela put it, all public finance management laws were broken and costs were allowed to escalate because the comrades shall eat. They must chow public money and now not enough of it is available. And this is what happens in most municipalities. Costs go unchecked as though money grows on trees,  not earned through the hard work of South Africans.

See in Nkandla, even if President  Zuma pays for the firepool, he will not be required to pay for the costs he and his cabinet ministers allowed to escalate. Those rondavels that had to be relocated which cost millions to build will not be part of the bill even though public money was spent unlawfully. President Zuma still has his job, and so does Thulas Nxesi, and Nathi Mthethwa who was moved to a different department.

So Minister Gordhan can fly economy class all he wants, as symbolic as that gesture is, his corrupt comrades will continue looting whatever little money is available. Cutting budgets in this case helps, but not much since the same old corrupt lot still occupy their positions in government. And their enablers are the entire cabinet, ANC MPs and the NEC who will use their positions in institutions to protect each other. How can a local Councillor in some small town be inspired to refrain from wasting public money when their seniors demonstrate that wasting public money like it happened in Nkandla is okay?

But worst of all,  the other unaccounted for enablers are the citizens who keep voting for the same old corrupt lot. Without sanctions through the ballot,  they are left free to do as they please with public money.

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