In a question asked by the Hon. Mntomuhle B Khawula (MPL) of the IFP to the Premier of KwaZulu Natal, Hon. S Zikalala, about the R48.256 billion accumulated irregular expenditure for government departments in KwaZulu-Natal, and the R404.061 million accumulated irregular expenditure for government entities for KZN, the response stated that to date, the irregular expenditure for government departments stands at R43.2 billion and R304 million for government entities.
Even then, this level of poor financial management in the province reflected by this exorbitant irregular expenditure report still remains very high. Of all the provincial governments and the national government in South Africa, the KwaZulu-Natal government has the highest irregular expenditure. The biggest culprits are the Transport Department at R24.2 billion, the Health Department at R11.5 billion, the Education Department at R8.4 billion and Social Development Department at R893.9 million.
The response from the Premier states that this irregular expenditure dates back to 2001 for the government departments, however, 89.4% of the R43.2 billion irregular expenditure in the province has accumulated from 2017 to date.
Of the R304 million irregular expenditure for the entities dating back to 2001, 75% of this has accumulated from 2017 to date.
Different departments have applied to Provincial Treasury for their irregular expenditure amounts to be condoned, but by and large these requests have been rejected by Treasury. Some of the reasons for these condonation requests not to be acceded to by Treasury are:
- A total of R465.3 million in requests applied for to be condoned are still under investigation. By law, transactions under investigation cannot be considered for condonation until the investigation process has been finalised and it is confirmed that the transaction does not relate to fraudulent, corrupt or other criminal conduct.
- Requests amounting to R31.7 million and R55.8 million by COGTA and EDTEA respectively, were not approved for condonation as losses were incurred in these amounts applied for.
- A condonation application by Human Settlements amounting to R394.9 million was not considered because the forensic report indicates that these amounts were subject to fraudulent, corrupt and criminal activities.
Other reasons stated by Treasury for rejecting these requests are the following:
- Remedial action and corrective measures are not demonstrated by departments.
- Evidence of disciplinary action taken against the responsible employees is not provided.
- The submissions do not provide details confirming that no losses were incurred and that value for money was achieved.
- Details were not provided of the legislation that has been contravened, the root causes and breakdown of internal controls.
- No/insufficient supporting documents provided.
Some departments applied to Provincial Treasury for their irregular expenditure amounts to be written off, but Provincial Treasury declined. The reason for this was simply that the applications were not in compliance with legislation.
The IFP in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature is very concerned about the state of affairs of our provincial finances. As a province, we cannot allow lawlessness to reign in our finances. Officials who fail to perform their duties must be taken to task by their principals. This free rein cannot just continue unabated when financial situations are so dire around the whole world.
The IFP is calling upon the Premier of KwaZulu Natal to immediately take action. If the political heads of the Departments appointed by the Premier are failing to take charge of the financial situations of the Departments under them, the Premier must them in too. The Premier is final accounting arbiter of the province and the buck stops with him. The rule of law must reign in KwaZulu-Natal. Enough is enough.
Hon. Mntomuhle B Khawula (IFP – MPL)
071 207 9445
3 June 2022