’Political deployees run amok’ as KZN Community Safety Department incurs R14m in irregular expenditure
By Chris Ndaliso 23m ago
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Durban – THE provincial Department of Community Safety and Liaison incurred irregular expenditure of over R14 million as it did not follow proper supply chain management (SCM) processes.
Some goods and services with a transaction value above R500 000 were procured without inviting competitive bids, as required by Treasury regulation 16A 6.1, the Auditor General’s 2019/20 financial year report has revealed.
The AG was briefing the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) at the legislature recently with the aim of providing the political leadership with an overview of the audit outcomes and internal control deficiencies that prevented the department from attaining the desired audit outcome. According to the report, the department has incurred irregular expenditure of R14.13 million through not following proper supply chain management (SCM) processes.
The AG’s findings on the Provincial Secretariat for Police were that planned and reported indicators were not consistent and verifiable and that business systems/process followed to produce the indicator target could not be verified.
The root cause for this, according to the AG’s report, was a slow response by management in dealing with previous year’s audit findings and lack of consequence management for poor staff performance.
The AG also found that reported performance was unreliable as the office could not verify the validity of the reported performance achievements for various indicators due to insufficient information provided.
There was also no evidence that the quarterly reports were submitted to the executive authority.
On expenditure management, the AG found the cause to be the lack of effective and appropriate steps to prevent irregular expenditure and that most of the irregular expenditure arose due to the contravention of SCM Regulations on various quotations and contracts.
“Sufficient appropriate audit evidence that disciplinary steps were taken against officials who had incurred unauthorised expenditure, irregular expenditure and fruitless and wasteful expenditure, as required by section 38(1)(h)(iii) of the public finance management Act (PFMA) was not provided for audit. This was due to proper and complete records not being maintained as evidence to support the investigations,” read the report.
Opposition party members in the Community Safety portfolio committee said political deployees in senior positions were running amok channelling service delivery funds in the wrong direction.
Blessed Gwala, the IFP’s portfolio spokesperson said: “It has become a norm for department officials to do as they wish with public funds knowing that they will come up with excuses when questioned.
During this period Covid-19 is a very convenient excuse for them to misappropriate funds. In any irregular expenditure, the responsible individuals must account and make efforts to recoup the funds.”
The DA’s portfolio spokesperson Sharon Hoosen said Community Safety was one of the key departments with the smallest budget in the legislature. In the financial year in question, the department was allocated just over a R235 million budget.
“One would expect that those in charge would ensure 100% compliance with zero percent irregular expenditure. The year-on-year increase in irregular expenditure is very concerning and more especially is that no one is held accountable for incurring the expenditure.
“The department has a dismal showing on consequence management. The HOD must present a detailed recovery plan to the portfolio committee to ensure that proper steps are taken to stop any future non-compliance in this department and that consequence management is fast-tracked,” said Hoosen.