SCOPA gives Public Works 14 days to respond to questions
16 Oct 2012The North West Provincial Legislature’s Standing Committee on Provincial Public Accounts sent back the Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport and gave it 14 days to provide a list of suspended officials, and a list of all cancelled contracts and litigations taken against the department after it cancelled those contracts.
This came after the department decided to withdraw responses that they had given to the committee arising from their financial statements submitted to the Auditor General but still did not have sufficient answers for this meeting. The meeting was attended by Public Works management and MEC, Raymond Elisha, and the Acting Head of the Department Mr. Samuel Thobakgale, who told the committee that most of the responses were not a true reflection of what is happening in the department.
The committee had requested the department to present their responses to questions posed to them on irregular expenditures, the unavailability of contractual agreements, title deeds, reconciliations, road proclamations and lack of a detailed asset register for immovable assets.
The committee felt that the department had submitted insufficient information to respond to all their questions. Chairperson of the Committee, Hon. Hlomane Chauke said the Public Finance Management Act clearly prescribes how to deal with fruitless and wasteful and irregular expenditure.
“How can you hire a private company to deal with your fruitless and wasteful irregular expenditure whereas you have a Head of Department who should be dealing with that according to the prescripts of PFMA.
“It is also clear that you have not looked at your responses for the 2010/2011 financial statements because the answers that you are giving now do not talk to that financial year’s responses,” said Hon. Chauke.
The department will also have to give a breakdown of the R628 million spent on scholar transport and commuter subsidy.
MEC Elisha, who also told the committee about a syndicate operating in the department, whereby scholar transport contracts were given to families and friends of officials in the department, thanked the committee for “robust inputs”.
“We are learning on a dialy basis which enhances our ability to account on taxpayers’ money. I now understand what the committee wants and will make sure that will avail all the necessary information,” said MEC Elisha.
Hon. Hlomane also raised a concern about the department being runn by top level management that is acting.
“How can a department run smoothly when all top level managers are acting? This is really a cause for a concern”, said Hon. Chauke.
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Issued by: North West Provincial Legislature
16 Oct 2012
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