The recent announcement by the government that it wants to drastically reduce the R63bn in irregular expenditure by the 2024/2025 financial year is just another way of shifting the goalposts. During meetings held by the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa), it became clear that the accounting officers for Gauteng are not doing their jobs effectively and efficiently.
The irregular expenditure reported by the auditor-general in previous reports occurred in procurement. Gauteng has put in place an open tender system that is starting to show results. Setting the target of reducing irregular expenditure by the national government is just not good enough while those responsible still get bonuses and continue with this trend.
Irregular expenditure normally indicates a breakdown in your control environment. This does not mean that it is corruption; it’s just not being serious about doing the right thing all the time. At the end of the day, you are working with taxpayers’ money and it is actually easy to follow the public procurement rules. In annual reports for the Gauteng departments, we see there is continual non-compliance with regulations.
At the launch of the auditor-general’s preventive guides, the director-general for the National Treasury, Dondo Mogajane, noted the following: “Good governance and sound public finance management are universal tenets and yet despite this, corruption continues to be one of the greatest obstacles to development worldwide.”
It is high time that the “gloves-on” approach ends, as this will not help reduce irregular expenditure in government departments.
Adriana Randall, MPL
DA Gauteng shadow MEC for finance & e-government
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