As revealed by the 2016/17 Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) Annual Report, irregular expenditure at IPID has climbed by 740 percent.
The report specified that irregular expenditure at the department, which was created as a watchdog to investigate complaints against the South African Police Service and municipal police services, totalled R21.5 million.
It was buttressed that the 21.5 million irregular expenditure at IPID consists majorly of R12.7 million from 2015 and R6.3 million from 2016. In all, the total amount represents a 739.5% increase from the preceding year.
Reacting to this revelation, the Democratic Alliance (DA) party reminded South Africans that IPID asked for R5 million from Parliament six months ago. Then, the Directorate contended that the money would help it complete its investigations into the Marikana massacre.
Four months later, it circulated that the Directorate can’t complete one of the Farlam Commission into the massacre of the 44 Marikana miners recommendations because of lack of finances.
Based on the above, the DA asserted that the regression of IPID’s financial management was triggered by the politically-driven period of organizational destabilization during the reign of the former Police Minister, Nathi Nhleko.
It “is now impacting on its ability to carry out its mandate of conducting independent and impartial investigations of crimes committed by SAPS and Municipal Police Service (MPS) members.
“IPID is meant to be the watchdog over those entrusted with our safety and security and were compromised in their ability to do so.
“Thanks to a Minister at the time who actively worked against its effectiveness and an unfit-for-purpose leadership that seemed intent on hollowing out its capacity,” stated DA.
Having said that, DA agitated that the people of South Africa must be immediately reassured that their safety is not being risked by IPID’s inability to keep its financial affairs in order. And, that the department would implement an urgent recovery plan.
IPID is not the only government agency to record irregular spending in recent time. The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) has recorded irregular expenditure of over 1000%.
The agency’s expenditure, as detailed in its own annual report, rose from R93m in 2014/15 to over R1bn in 2015/16.
SASSA explained to Parliament’s portfolio committee on social development that the amounts were irregularly spent on the extension of contracts with security companies (R414m), re-registering grant beneficiaries (R316m), re-negotiated tenancy agreements (R223m), forensic investigations (R74m), and “other matters” (R18m).
Democratic Alliance MPs Bridget Masango and Evelyn Wilson asked what was being done to address the “very concerning” issues.
SASSA acting chief executive officer Raphaahle Ramokgopa said “poor contract management” was the reason for the outrageous figures. He told the committee the irregularities were not acceptable, promising to take better steps to deal with their issues.
However, despite the alarming irregular expenditure figures, the department is still scheduled to address the committee on its readiness to take over the distribution of all of South Africa’s social grants, after the Constitutional court ruled that the contract with the current service provider, Cash Paymaster Services, was invalid.
Acting Director-General Wiseman Magasela said Sassa was confident of being able to handle grants for 17 million people.