Gauteng govt financial performance: DA to leave no stone unturned – DA

Party says it is especially concerned about the Department of Human Settlements

DA to leave no stone unturned at hearings into Gauteng Departments financial performance for 2020/2021 financial year

18 November 2021

Today, the Gauteng Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) will be hearing from various departments of the Gauteng Provincial Government regarding their financial statements for the 2020/2021 financial year.

This comes after the Auditor General of South Africa released its audit findings for all the departments in our province for the previous financial year.

The AG findings are a mixed bag. While there was a slight improvement in the financial reports, and a stagnation in outcomes on predetermined objectives, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure increased and wiped out the gains made in previous years. According to the AG, departments are not getting better at financial reporting and compliance to supply chain management best practice.

Five departments received a clean audit opinion, while eight achieved an unqualified opinion. Specifically, the Department of Agriculture, and entities within the Economic Development Department improved their audit outcomes and this should be recognised.

We are however, very concerned about the Department of Human Settlements which was the only department to receive a qualified opinion for the 2020/21 financial year and the Housing Fund in particular, which received a disclaimer. Furthermore, we will closely scrutinise Community Safety, G-Fleet and The Innovation Hub because their outcomes regressed, as well as all departments who underspent or were implicated in corruption relating to Covid-19 expenditure.

We note that the Office of the Premier had unauthorised expenditure amounting to R5.9 million which relates to pay-outs to the families of deceased victims of the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

Irregular expenditure for the province for the last financial year currently stands at R9.7 billion, while fruitless and wasteful expenditure is currently at R378 million. This speaks to poor consequence management and incapacity that can be addressed and we will seek solutions and behavioural change in every department where this occurred.

An amount of R2.9 billion was outstanding for over 30 days and it will all in likelihood have an impact on service delivery during the 2021/22 financial year.

During our meeting today, when the first set of departments appear before the committee, the DA will not waiver in interrogating MECs, HODs and their accounting officers on the state of their finances and the impact this has on service delivery to our residents.

Audit outcomes sometime appear far removed from the struggles of daily life, but the nearly R10 billion of such irregular expenditure directly represents services and financial assistance during Covid-19 that Gauteng residents lost out on.

We will leave no stone unturned in holding departments to account for the poor performance which ultimately negatively impacts the lives of our residents.

Issued by Ina Cilliers, DA Gauteng Spokesperson for the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA), 18 November 2021