R9 billion in irregular expenditure by Gauteng departments puts service delivery at risk

Gauteng residents continue to suffer through the ineptitude of the provincial government which is constantly failing to clamp down on irregular expenditure, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

This information was revealed this week at a two-day breakaway held by the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA).

According to the report that deals with the Public Finance Management Act Provincial Audit outcomes, irregular expenditure to the tune of R9,73 billion was incurred, while fruitless and wasteful expenditure amounted to R378 million.

The following departments are the top offenders when it comes to irregular expenditure:

• Health- R2,57 billion
• Roads and Transport- R2,48 billion
• Education- R812 million
• Infrastructure Development- R340 million
• e-Government- R413 million

The main reason for the large amount of irregular expenditure and fruitless and wasteful expenditure is due to non-compliance with Supply Chain Management (SCM) processes.

This is very concerning as it means that loopholes exist within the system for potential corruption to occur.

The DA proposes that to clamp down on non-compliance with the SCM, officials who circumvent the SCM process must face consequence management. In a situation where the same officials are found to be contravening the policy and procedures put in a place, formal disciplinary hearings must take place. The impunity for floating processes and violating policy must end.

If these efforts are intensified by the current government, public funds will be managed correctly, and we will not see a repeat of the recent Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) scandal.

A DA government will ensure that the SCM policies that are in place are followed, and if any official disregards these directives, they will face immediate disciplinary action.

Taxpayers’ money should be spent transparently and meticulous records of where every cent is spent must be kept accordingly.

Gauteng Provincial Government departments return millions of rands to National Treasury while failing to deliver houses and maintain road infrastructure

Gauteng residents are currently enduring very bad roads that are littered with many potholes, while the Department of Roads and Transport had to return R51.8 million to the treasury due to poor spending of the Provincial Road Maintenance Grant.

In addition to this, the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements also failed to spend R20 million of the Informal Settlement Upgrading Partnership Grant and the money was also returned to the treasury.

It is for this reason that the Democratic Alliance (DA) has not supported the Second Adjustment Appropriations Bill of 2022 because these two departments have failed to spend on their allocated grants.

It is unacceptable that our residents now need to suffer because government departments are unable to do effective planning at the start of each financial year and manage their funds properly to ensure that services are delivered to our people.

Gauteng’s roads are in a terrible state, and this has a huge impact on whether goods and services that are delivered by road can reach their destinations on time and in perfect condition.

Further to this, our motorists will also be subjected to higher insurance premiums if they are constantly claiming from their insurers because of damage sustained while driving on roads that are not well and properly maintained.

Recent surveys conducted around the procurement of goods and services in the Department of Transport found that 91% of contractors felt that government procurement processes were not open and transparent, while 57% of the respondents felt that corruption is pertinent during the procurement and tender phases of the infrastructure cycle.

It is imperative that Gauteng has a well-developed and maintained road network as this is crucial for economic growth to take place. The DA is of the view that the department is not functioning well enough to contribute positively to the province’s economic growth potential.

The Department of Human Settlements returned R20 million allocated as part of the Informal Settlement Upgrading Partnership Grant, due to poor planning and prolonged supply chain processes, which resulted in the delay in appointing service providers.

This grant was introduced in the 2020/21 financial year to provide beneficiaries with access to basic services and security of tenure over the Medium-Term Strategic Framework for the period 2019-2024.
The constant immigration of people into our province compels the Department of Human Settlements to utilise this grant to its fullest to ensure access to dignified housing for our residents.

The DA demands that the Gauteng Provincial Government ensures that all policies and interventions that have been put in place to ensure the growth of this province are implemented properly and immediately.

We cannot continue to have a situation where our residents are always on the losing end because this government is failing to ensure that the budget set aside for each department is spent properly and to the benefit of our residents.

It is time that this trend of continuing with business-as-usual ends and that decisive action is taken against accounting officers, and the executive, who fail to meet the poverty and inequality reduction targets set for 2030.

Gauteng Government using POPI Act, audit process as an excuse for not releasing Covid-19 expenditure reports

The Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) is avoiding accountability to the taxpayers of the province by failing to disclose expenditure on the procurement of Protective Personal Equipment (PPE) since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In an oral reply to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature during a recent sitting, the MEC for Finance, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko claimed that the reports on Covid-19 expenditure for February and March have not yet been made public due to the yearend process. The outstanding reports will be published after the audit closure which was due by the end of August 2021.

In addition, it would appear that the Gauteng Government is hiding behind the Protection of Personal Information Act, claiming that they cannot name the suppliers unless prior permission has been given – a flimsy excuse, denying the rights of citizens to know who has been paid with taxpayer money.

By not publishing regular Covid-19 expenditure reports, it would appear as if the Gauteng Provincial Government is flouting National Treasury Note 20 that was published last year.

The GPG has a responsibility to spend our taxpayers’ money in a transparent and responsible manner. It is important now more than ever that government spends their scarce financial resources in a proper manner, especially now that our economy has been hard hit by Covid-19.

Where we govern in the Western Cape, Covid-19 expenditure reports are transparently published on a regular basis, so that the residents are aware of exactly how their money has been spent.

This is what a responsible government would do. The DA will continue to demand that these Covid-19 expenditure reports are made public so that taxpayers can know exactly where and on what their money has been spent.

Local Government Elections are coming up! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status. 

Gauteng spends R64 million on corruption investigations but Premier won’t release reports

The Gauteng Provincial Government has spent R63.8 million on 54 reports to investigate suspected corruption, but not a single one of these reports has been made public despite claims that the recommendations made have been implemented or are in the process of being implemented.

This is revealed by Premier David Makhura in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

According to Makhura, the investigations were done by 23 forensic and audit companies over the last four years. These companies were chosen from a panel of 35 approved service providers after following an open tender process.

Gobodo Forensic and Investigative Accounting was paid R9.1 million for four reports, broken down as follows:

• School Nutrition Programme – R4.6 million
• George Mukhari Hospital – R2.9 million
• Metrofile in the Department of Human Settlements (DHS) – R990 000
• Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs – R576 000

Other companies that have scored highly from expensive investigations include Bowmans Gilfillan, which was paid R7.4 million for three investigations, Deloitte was paid R6.1 million for three investigations, and Sekela Xabiso was paid R5.3 million for 5 investigations.

Notable investigations include the following:

• Security Tenders in the Health Department
• Foodbanks in the Department of Social Development (DSD)
• Dignity packs (DSD)
• Places of safety (DSD)
• Combi courts (Department of Sports)
• Microsoft (DHS)
• School uniform
• Nepotism (Office of the Premier)

The completed reports make a total of 1226 recommendations, of which 394 have been fully implemented, 312 are in progress and the remaining 520 are being dealt with in meetings between the Premier and each MEC and Head of Department on an ongoing basis.

Makhura says that 162 criminal cases have been referred to law enforcement agencies, 515 officials have been referred to disciplinary processes, and 128 civil claims have been instituted.

Furthermore, “steps are underway to ensure the recovery of R600 million lost from irregular conduct, unethical behaviour, corrupt practices or negligence.”

The burning issue is why none of these costly reports have been made public despite repeated promises that this will be done.

There needs to be far more transparency on this so that we can judge for ourselves whether appropriate action has been taken. Why are 520 recommendations still not acted on and why are no MECs held accountable for all this deplorable corruption?

I doubt whether much of the R600 million lost will be recovered as previous attests to recoup losses have failed dismally. More than R1 billion of irregular and wasteful expenditure has been written off already, including R723 million from the Department of Social Development, R124 million from Human Settlements and R83 million from Health.

Makhura’s big failure is that he has not prevented corruption in the first place. Money that is stolen or wasted is rarely recovered, which harms people in Gauteng who suffer from inferior services.

How can it be that people steal money from feeding schemes, dignity packs for schoolgirls, and places of safety?

The murder of health official Babita Deokaran shows how ineffectual Makhura has been in protecting whistleblowers and those who tried to spend money in the public interest.

The DA will continue to press the Premier to make all investigation reports public and ensure real accountability so that all rotten staff and politicians are removed and face justice in the courts.

Local Government Elections are coming up! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status. 

Small businesses and their employees go without income as Gauteng fails to pay over R7 billion in invoices

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is deeply concerned that the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) is taking longer than 30 days to pay invoices.

This is a worrying trend as it means those small businesses who may be waiting for payment is negatively impacted, and would not be able to pay their employees on time, leading to more financial frustration for their own families and households.

This information was revealed in a recent report released by National Treasury on non-compliance with payments of suppliers.

According to this report, 28% of invoices totalling R7 836 885 671,00 were paid after 30 days for the 2020/21 financial year. Gauteng has the second-highest number of invoices and the highest rand value of invoices not paid on time.

50% of invoices totalling R1 413 754 979,00 was older than 30 days that has not been paid on time.

Small businesses are already in dire straits due to the Covid-19 pandemic and now more recently the unrest and looting that spread through the country, particularly in Gauteng.

These businesses may then need to take out a bridging loan if their invoices are not paid in order to ensure that their employees are paid a weekly or monthly salary as agreed upon.

This is unacceptable as it may lead to small businesses then having to close their doors if this trend continues.

A DA-led Gauteng government will replicate what we are doing in Western Cape by ensuring that all invoices are paid within 30 days or less, as this is important to ensure that small businesses are not put in a position where they are unable to pay employees’ salaries.

In the Western Cape, the DA-led government has paid 98% of all invoices for goods and services within 30 days. In addition, this was the only province to not have any invoices older than 30 days outstanding by the end of the 2020/21 financial year.

Local Government Elections are coming up! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status. 


e-Government awards a tender even to a company that is being deregistered

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is shocked to learn that the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) has awarded a tender to Finesse World Wide to sanitize documents despite the fact that this company is currently in the process of being deregistered.

According to the 2019 CICP records, this company which is owned by Koketso Pitso was in the process of being deregistered for annual return non-compliance.

In reply to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL), the MEC for Finance and e-Government Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, confirmed that the company was appointed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and because government has an obligation to provide a safe working environment, the employer must ensure that the workplace is free from any risk to the health of its employees as far as it is reasonable and practicable. Furthermore, the department also recorded incidents of Covid-19 infections in its building and therefore documents received from the Document Management Centre (DMC) needed to be sanitized.

The DA has confirmed that this was not the first time that the department struggled with Occupational Health and Safety issues, as this was an audit related matter contained in the department’s 2018/19 Annual Report, and we agree that the department had to act fast to prevent the spread of COVID19 infections. It is however unacceptable that an organisation that clearly does not have all its paperwork in order is awarded a tender by provincial government to the value of R328 457,00. According to the MEC, Finesse World Wide (Pty) Ltd was the only company which responded to the department’s calls for a quotation, and which submitted supporting documents, including a BBBEE and tax certificate or pin, the Central Supplier Database (CSD) report and company registration documents. A memorandum to procure these services as an emergency procurement was approved by the Accounting Officer.

The DA is concerned that the validity of the tax certificate or pin had not been confirmed as the information on the company was merely obtained from the Central Supplier Database (CSD) report. It does not appear as though the latest CICP report was used by the accounting officer, as it seems that the company’s process for deregistration was overlooked.

The DA will be submitting further questions to the MEC for Finance and e-Government to determine if the department was aware that the company was in the process of being deregistered and if they were, then will the accounting officer who awarded the tender be facing any disciplinary action.

DA to push for urgent court date to resolve on the removal of ANC administrators in Tshwane

Three months after the North Gauteng High Court ruled that the ANC’s power-grab in the City of Tshwane was unlawful, and after further delaying tactics from the ANC, the legal bid to re-instate the lawful DA-led government of Tshwane is now a step closer.

Despite the urgency of the matter, and the unconstitutionality of the ANC administration in the City, the Gauteng Provincial Government delayed processes for several weeks.

After the Provincial Government finally submitted its heads of argument in its appeal under Section 18 (4) of the Superior Courts Act, the DA has been able to file its responding papers and the case can now continue.

In terms of the act, this matter has to be considered as being extremely urgent.  The administrators have now far exceeded the 90 days that is constitutionally permitted for them to have been in office, and in the meantime they are causing havoc in the City and seriously jeopardising service delivery.

The DA hopes to receive feedback soon from the Supreme Court of Appeal, as to the date on which the appeal can be heard.

We will then once again argue why the administrators should be removed from office immediately in accordance with the Gauteng North High Court judgement of 29 Aril 2020.

Each day that passes means that the illegally imposed and unlawful ANC administrators remain in office, in violation of the constitution.

The DA has remained steadfast in its commitment towards exposing this ANC power grab and the ensuing unlawful decision to dissolve the Tshwane Council.

At each step the courts have agreed with us.

The appeal at the Supreme Court will be one more opportunity to expose this power grab for what it is. A coup that has removed the democratically elected leaders from the City of Tshwane during a time of immense crisis and at great expense to the residents of the capital.

Millions spent on paying GPG employees’ overtime

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is extremely concerned about the exorbitant amount of money spent on overtime by the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) over the last five years.

This was revealed to me by the MECs for Finance and e-Government; Infrastructure Development and Property Management; Education; Economic Development and Agriculture and Rural Development; Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation and Social Development in a written reply to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).

The departments have spent the following amount on overtime over the last five financial years:

  • Infrastructure Development and Property Management- R100 321 255.00
  • Finance and e-Government – R1 522 100.00
  • Education- R75 500 000.00
  • Economic Development and Agriculture and Rural Development- R16 460 430.57
  • Social Development – R3 028 823. 34
  • Roads and Transport- R9 218 062, 55

If the trend over the last five years regarding the amount of money paid in overtime continues, it means the wage bill will not be kept at 60%.

This is concerning as the economy is not doing well and in order for this to improve a directive was given by the National Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni to keep the wage bill at 60%.

Where departments need to have Annual Performance Plans (APP) in place it does not appear that they are adhering to these plans. This points to poor planning by the Gauteng Provincial Government.

The only way this can be mitigated is by ensuring that each and every department submits an APP that details exactly how they will be cutting down on overtime in the new financial year.

Failure to do so will lead to a wage bill that is far higher than 60%.

The DA will be closely monitoring each department to ensure that their APPs are submitted for the 2020/2021 financial year and to determine what plans have been put in place to curb overtime spend.

Merafong Local Municipality on the brink of collapse, DA concerned that other smaller municipalities may follow

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng has learnt that the ANC-led Merafong Local Municipality will not be able to pay May salaries without the assistance of the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG).

The payment levels of Merafong have dropped to below 50% and Eskom and Rand Water were short paid this month. Currently the Merafong municipality is paying creditors in order of priority and only when money is available.

This municipality, like many others under the ANC- led government which have had unfunded budget such as Emfuleni Local Municipality, Lesedi Local Municipality, Mogale City Local Municipality and Rand West District Municipality are battling to pay for bulk services from Eskom and Rand Water.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the municipalities are struggling to collect revenue. This pandemic, which has seen the country on lockdown since 26 March has led to some residents being forced to stay at home without earning a salary which in turn means that they are unable to pay their municipal accounts.

Furthermore, these municipalities were also battling to deliver basic services prior to the lockdown. The DA is deeply concerned that this pandemic will only put municipalities in a worse financial position as the residents continue to battle to pay for services.

If these municipalities do not get financial assistance from GPG they are at risk of being unable to pay salaries to Councillors and staff and this will also mean relief efforts and food support to the most vulnerable will fail.

While the President announced that municipalities will receive financial assistance to ensure that they are able to provide basic services we call on the Gauteng MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Lebogang Maile to provide us with a detailed response plan on how the GPG will mitigate the revenue shortfall in rural Gauteng municipalities so that those societies are not left out without governance and support.

Furthermore, the MEC must as a matter of urgency provide the amounts and timeframes before the end of May on how the financial assistance will be allocated.

Instead of focusing on Tshwane, the MEC should be focusing on these failing ANC municipalities who are in dire need of urgent intervention.

GPG faces uphill battle to keep wage bill at 60%

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng notes the announcement by the MEC for Finance, Nomantu Nkomo Ralehoko that the public servant’s wage bill will be capped at 60%, and that no employee salaries will be cut. This is also an undertaking she gave to the unions.

Currently, the wage bill according to the MEC is at 55%, however, the DA can confirm that the actual wage bill is at 58% or R82,568bn. This is according to the Gauteng Provincial Spending per economic classification details for the 2020/21 Financial Year.

The MEC has also indicated that she has directed all departments to conduct a skills audit to ascertain, exactly what skills each employee has.

This will help ensure that the right person with the right skills is employed by government and will also give the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) an idea of what and where critical skills vacancies exist.

The DA, however, is concerned that once the skills audit is complete, the GPG will not be able to keep the wage bill below 60%.

Currently one of the stumbling blocks in filling critical skill vacancies is that government does not offer a competitive salary. This is one of the reasons why there is a severe shortage of Big Data Analysts and Cyber Security Specialists in the e-Government department for example.

We note increased budgets allocated for consultants in five departments of the Gauteng Provincial Government, of which the Department of Roads and Transport had the biggest increase. This is also indicative of a shortage of suitable skills internally and must be addressed urgently by the skills audit as called for by the MEC.

The establishment of additional advisory panels by departments and the Office of the Premier will also mean that more salaries will have to be paid. Take for example the 4th Industrial Revolution Advisory panel that will be established in the Office of the Premier.

I will be tabling questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) to ascertain when the skills audit will commence with end dates,  and what measures are being put in place to ensure that critical skills vacancies are filled without inflating the wage bill. The DA will also be monitoring this process to ensure that qualified and experienced personnel are employed.