Party says wrongdoing revealed by cabinet is just the tip of the iceberg
Tell No Lies And Claim No Easy Victory!
The South African Communist Party in the province of Limpopo held its first Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) for the year on the 29th of January 2012 at the Provincial Health Auditorium. The purpose of the meeting was to reflect on the progress made on the implementation of the Joe Slovo Right to Learn Campaign and the extent to which party districts, branches and members are carrying out their Constitutional obligation of building the organisation strong.
The PEC took place some few weeks after the commencement of the celebrations of the African National Congress (ANC) centenary in Mangaung, Free State province, and the provincial rally that was held in Sparks Ramagoma District, former Sekhukhune District. This rally was addressed amongst others by the Treasurer-General of the ANC comrade Matthews Phosa. In his address comrade Phosa made some insinuations regarding national government intervention in Limpopo. His remarks that some of the powers of Premier Cassel Mathale have been stolen because of the intervention are disappointing to say the least.
We therefore commend the ANC national officials for having reminded each other (Phosa) in their regular meetings that was held on the 16 January 2012 about the principles of both organisational and political discipline. As the SACP we fully support the observation by ANC national officials that the intervention in Limpopo is meant to tighten government administration and it is supported by the findings of the Auditor General. The ANC officials' meeting correctly concluded that the ANC is "responsible to reinforce good governance and accountable administration".
We also have noted the continuous efforts by some individuals who are part of the Executive of the Limpopo Provincial Administration and various organisations to mislead the public concerning the current financial crisis in the province. This campaign largely but not exclusively involves tactical and desperate manoeuvres to blame the national intervention and previous provincial administrations for the province's financial crisis. This absolute absurdity constitutes an insult to the intelligence of ordinary working class and the poor masses of our province upon who the brunt of the crisis is imposed in its extreme.
It is even shocking when the MEC for Provincial Treasury wants to blame the Occupation Specific Dispensation (OSD) for the crisis as if Limpopo is the only province that had to implement the public sector wage increases resulting from the Public Sector Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) Resolution 1 of 2007. The MEC in fact demonstrates his lack of understanding of the issue that he is raising by saying that the agreement was concluded in 2005 when in fact it was concluded in 2007 and implemented from 2008 by various sectors.
Obviously this is a desperate attempt to introduce sectarian conflicts within the working class since a lousy attempt is made to influence the masses to believe that services cannot be delivered to them because of the payments that were made to public servants. Ironically, when the request for funding was made to the National Treasury, the main reason was to ensure that the province will pay the public servants and service providers for the last three months of 2011 and beyond.
We wish to remind those propagandists both in the state and various organisations of the assertion by one of the great revolutionaries of the African revolution Almicar Cabral when he said: ‘Tell no lies and claim no easy victory!"
As the Party we are inspired by this assertion to raise the question and answer it factually as to "where did public finances of the province go and how have they been handled?"The answer in part is to be found in the media statement by the joint ministerial team on Limpopo section 100 intervention, released Thursday,19 January 2012, and the Auditor-General's report on the provincial audit outcomes of Limpopo for the financial year 2010-2011 which expose lack of proper leadership and internal systems, incompetence, contravention and disregard of the Republic's Constitution and procedures as laid out in relevant legislations, lack of proper monitoring, fruitless and wasteful expenditure amongst other things that are bedevilling our province.
All if not most of these things, rather than being inherited, have been committed or omitted directly within our provincial government dating back to 2009. And to the extent any slight weakness was inherited surely the task of the provincial government leadership could not have been to exacerbate as it has been done, but to solve the problem.
In the midst of all material facts that are raised both in Auditor-General's report and the Joint Ministerial Team on Limpopo there was some mobilisation against the national intervention by certain elements in the province of who some are part of the provincial administration and those who overwhelmingly appear to be the drivers or beneficiaries of the aggressive loot that has been taking against public funds. In spite of the "persistent assurances" by the Premier that his administration will cooperate with the team in resolving the crisis our view is that they are in no position to cooperate with the national team in good faith.
As highlighted by the Minister of Finance comrade Pravin Ghordan it is no wonder that acts of sabotage could have been taking place as part of the dirty tricks to shift the blame to and oppose the national intervention contrary to facts being crystal clear that without the national intervention workers and suppliers would in no way be paid. As the Party we support thoroughgoing investigations into the alleged acts of sabotage with saboteurs and their handlers brought to justice.
We declare confrontation against the new tendency which, in order to shield maladministration, seeks to misappropriate the fact that the African National Congress will be having its 53rd National Conference in December 2012.The fact that the ANC has conferences, which is an unstoppable reality in its lifeblood, must not be hijacked, abused and misused as a reason to allow corruption, maladministration and incompetence to thrive and not be dealt with.
In particular we shall also confront the fabrication of an allegation of abuse of state power which is absolutely advocated by some of those who are opposed to the national intervention for nothing except to defend corruption and shield private capital accumulation.
As the Party we want accountability and forensic investigations into the flows of every cent that was allocated to the provincial government, at least dating back to the 2009-2010 financial year. We support the call for the prosecution of the perpetrators of corruption that resulted in the province being in such a mess.
The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) must be involved in these investigations, and its coverage must include a special focus on the financial dealings of service providers, their linkages with public representatives and officials, racketeering and money laundering. We hope that the Public Protector will also complete the investigations that the institution has started in the province. We are determined to ensure that corruption and cronyism in the allocation of tenders within the province.
In the light of the current financial crisis in the province, we wish to reiterate our call that Premier Mathale and the executive council that he leads must resign in order to give the province a fresh start! We also want to emphasise our correctly held view that over-tenderisation of the state must be reversed in favour of building a developmental state that has internal capacity to fulfil its obligations to the people.
We shall not tolerate any tendency to squander public resources instead of advancing socio-economic development. To this end, together with other fraternal organisations, we shall intensify our mass mobilisation campaign in order to achieve justice for the working class of this province.
A REJOINDER: STATEMENT ON THE FINANCIAL CRISIS IN THE PROVINCE
As the SACP we would like to set the record straight with facts.
Where actually did public finances of the province go and how have they been handled?
We believe a tip in the iceberg , the media statement by the joint ministerial team on Limpopo section 100 intervention, released Thursday, 19 January 2012, and the Auditor General's report on the provincial audit outcomes of Limpopo for the financial year 2010-11 provide an answer in part: incompetence, lack of proper leadership and internal systems, contravention and disregard of the Republic's Constitution and procedures as laid out in relevant legislation, lack of proper monitoring, fruitless and wasteful expenditure, among others.
As the SACP we regret to highlight a few material facts about the unwelcome conduct in the administration and handling of public finances in the province.
1. The Republic's Constitution has been disregarded in the provincial government's cocoon of anarchy with Mr Mathale as premier. This relates in particular to the principles of contracting for goods and services in a manner that is fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost-effective.
2. Coupled with this disregard to the Republic's Constitution in the provincial government is an institutionalised-style contravention of relevant legislation, notably the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and Treasury Regulations which prescribes the processes and rules to be followed by departments and public entities in order to consistently and correctly apply the stated constitutional principles and to safeguard the process against abuse.
3. As such, payments in excess of approved contract amount were made, inadequate monitoring and irregularities regarding contract extension or amendment were committed, and hence huge proportions of money evaporated into fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
4. By 2009 Limpopo provincial government had historically accumulated unauthorised expenditure of R1.5 billion. Instead of solving this, the administration under the stewardship of Mr Cassel Mathale, who by the way became the premier before the 2009 elections, exacerbated the problem. By 2011 the province had accumulated unauthorised expenditure to the value of R2.7 billion. This means that in just two years from 2009 newly accumulated unauthorised expenditure sky-rocketed by R1.2 billion.
5. In 2010-11 financial year irregular expenditure by both departments and public entities amounted to R1.1 billion. This is an alarming increase over the prior year total of R6.5 million of which itself is out of order. The education and health departments contributed significantly in this mess. Each incurred R696 million and R401 million respectively, thereby being responsibly of 96% of irregular expenditure.
6. The education and health departments alone are responsible for 98% of fruitless and wasteful expenditure identified so far by the Auditor General. An expenditure all in vain and would have been avoided had reasonable care been exercised, the education department's fruitless and wasteful expenditure amounted to R60 million, and that by the health department to R161 million. In agriculture department, fruitless and wasteful expenditure amounted to R2.608 million, local government and housing R5.000, public works R219.000, roads and transport R860.647, social development R30.312, and in the office of the premier R152.000.
7. In health department alone, a number of 28 payments in excess of the approved amount were made, totalling a value of R78.020 million. In social development a number of 6 contracts, totalling R76.483 million suffered inadequate performance monitoring. In public works a number of 27 contracts, totalling R10.137 suffered irregularities regarding extension or amendment.
8. In varying degrees poor internal controls exist with health and education departments in a worse position and, as stated in the joint ministerial team statement, the management function in the provincial treasury collapsed with its budget section appearing to have been dysfunctional. Payments to certain providers in the province were in recent times, as the statement highlights, made eight times in a month.
9. Not only did it become clear, as stated in the joint ministerial statement, that by November 2011 the province would not be able to pay teachers, doctors, nurses, social workers and other public sector employees, but it was technically bankrupt and facing a potential shortfall of R2 billion at the end of the present financial year. No other province except ours is in this crisis condition that necessitated the all correct national intervention in terms of Section 100. But in all these, premier Cassel Mathale appears to have been consistently concerned almost about payments to service providers as opposed to workers. Why?
10. One of the problematic phenomena that our province is faced with is illustrated by a significant number of public officials and family members "doing business" with government. Of the numbers identified in the Auditor General's report for the financial year under review, agriculture department had three officials in that regard with contracts to the value of R348.000, education one (R4.495 million), health eleven (R25.589 million), public works two (R36.000), and local government and housing two (R10.000). Uncompetitive and unfair procurement processes cannot be understood in isolation and disconnected from the web of directorships, shareholdings, "sleeping or silence partnerships" and cuts in different expressions of corruption.
11. In economic development, tourism and environment department the value of R3.485 million went to contracts without three quotations obtained, in health R34.926 million and in the office of the premier R319.000. In numbers economic development, tourism and environment account for 36, health 46 and office of the premier 13.
Statements issued by Gilbert Kganyago, SACP Limpopo Interim Provincial Secretary, January 31 2012
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