The KZN Department of Transport have lost R14.11 billion on irregular expenditure as it failed to follow proper tender procedures under the watch of former MEC Hon. Mxolisi Kaunda during the 2018/19 financial year. This was according to the briefing report on performance of departments, delivered by Auditor-General to SCOPA committee this morning on Wednesday at KZN Legislature.
This amount of irregular expenditure has been increasing over the years indicating a complete disregard of SCM policies and regulations within Transport Department. The former MEC and his team failed to regularly monitor adherence to legislation within the department.
This is totally unacceptable and the IFP would dig deeper and get to the bottom of it. Our major concern about this irregular expenditure is that it could have been prevented if the leadership was serious about putting an end to it. Instead there is no evidence showing that disciplinary steps were taken against officials who incurred irregular expenditure. There are just no justifiable reasons for departments to incur irregular expenditure of R14.11 billion.
Furthermore, to prove that there is a lot that is not going well with this department, it materially underspent the budget by R265.94 million on transport infrastructure due to delays in infrastructure projects yet we have witnessed many violent protests around the province by communities demanding road infrastructure.
Corruption has reached alarming levels as some contracts and quotations were awarded to bidders based on pre-qualification criteria that were not stipulated or different from those stipulated in the original invitation and quotations in contradiction of preferential procurement regulation 4 (1) and 4 (2) of 2017.
The failure by the leadership of the Department to investigate findings relating to transgressions by officials and other stakeholders is deeply concerning as effective and appropriate steps were not taken to prevent irregular expenditure.
Auditor-General found that the department did not investigate or act against ten (10) cases of improper SCM conduct whereby suppliers submitted false declaration of interest, thirteen (13) cases where officials failed to disclose their own interest and that of close family members contracts to the value of R92 million.
We urge the new MEC Hon Bheki Ntuli to ensure that the accounting officer is held accountable as to why the irregular and wasteful expenditure occurred.
The IFP has been complaining for years about lack of action against officials who flout the rules and regulations of supply chain management. We need a sense of urgency when public finances are not managed discreetly.
We further call upon Hon Ntuli to speedily design controls that will ensure that compliance checklist is implemented.
The IFP will be closely monitoring the progress of the investigation into the non compliance of the SCM processes and will be tabling questions to ascertain what
measures will be put in place to clamp down on irregular expenditure in this department.
Hon. M.B Gwala
IFP Member of the Transport Portfolio Committee
078 290 5842