As revealed in a series of written responses presented by the Gauteng department of roads and transport to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts Committee (Scopa) in the province legislature, the department incurred over R2-billion in irregular expenditure in the 2016/17 financial year.
While there are various reasons for this, most of the irregular expenditure was caused by the extension of bus subsidies which were over R2-billion. This is followed by the extension of security contracts at over R17-million.
In addition to the aforementioned, there were also companies which were instructed to work on the R25 and R82 without advertising the tender. These contracts were worth up to R8.7-million. Also, R12-million was identified as irregular expenditure by the Auditor-General for the construction of intermodal transport facilities in Vereeniging.
All other other irregular expenditure, according to the report, was for “payments relating to disciplinary inquiry”.
When asked why the department failed to pick up problems early in its financial control systems, the head of the department Ronald Swartz said;
“We are putting a lot of effort into putting together not only policies for whistle-blowing and what is ethics and workshop around the need for a high level of integrity.
“Any form of fraud and corruption can only end if all of us human beings and individuals are completely honest about our work. And that we don’t see the public purse as a source through which we can enrich ourselves. It is only human honesty that can help us stop that.
“I’m not aware of any system in the world that will enable you to fully prevent fraud and corruption. What we have to do is to try and ensure that we keep‚ by the introduction of various controls‚ preventing this kind of thing from happening. In the final analysis, it is about the culture of honesty that needs to be embedded in the public service that will eventually assist us.
“Our forensic unit has been kept busy by various investigations. At the current moment they are reactive to issues that arise rather than being able to focus on preventative measures.”
Apparently, the Gauteng department is facing the cankerworm (corruption) that has eaten deep into our society.
Meanwhile, Gauteng finance MEC Barbara has opened the floor for residents to share their views on what they expect from their government ahead of the tabling of the provincial mid-term budget policy statement on November 16.