Daily News: Housing MEC slammed after report


Housing MEC slammed after report

October 31 2011 at 11:37am
By Zohra Mohamed Teke

The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Human Settlements has come under blistering attack in a report by the auditor-general which found a series of irregularities, corruption and maladministration.

The report’s findings, from an audit on the department for the current financial year, and leaked to the Daily News, included:

  • Unauthorised expenditure amounting to R199 million.
  • Irregular expenditure amounting to R381m due to non-compliance of supply chain management requirements.
  • Goods and services with a transaction value above R500 000 procured without inviting tenders.
  • More than R2m in foreign assistance had to be returned to donors.
  • The department’s accounting officer had not conducted accounting systems required by the Treasury and had failed to report the performance of the department in the annual performance report.
  • Contrary to Treasury regulations, the department’s accounting officer had not maintained measures “to ensure that transfer and subsidies of houses are applied adequately for their intended purposes and monitoring mechanisms were not adequate to ensure that housing needs had met the sustainability criteria”.

    In a written presentation to Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts last week, the department laid blame for most of the irregularities on earlier years, during the time of former KZN Human Settlements MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu.

    Incumbent MEC Maggie Govender’s office also outlined measures it was putting in place to address the report’s findings.

    On the issue of irregular expenditure, the department admitted that the expenditure was a result of “contracts on projects that were commissioned without following proper supply chain management processes” in the 2008/2009 financial year and that it was still pursuing criminal charges against those involved.

    But on findings on its financial mismanagement, the department said a committee would be established to oversee financial statements and annual reports before being submitted to the auditor-general for printing in future.

    On investigations involving maladministration of projects, subsidy fraud and non-adherence to supply chain management, the department admitted it was investigating seven cases within its ranks and 76 cases against employees who falsified salary slips to benefit from state housing subsidies.

    However, the DA’s housing spokesman, George Mari, has called Govender’s response to the auditor-general’s report unacceptable: “The MEC is simply passing the buck by laying blame on her predecessor, Mike Mabuyakhulu.

    “She’s had enough time to clean up office if this was the case and to ensure that service delivery takes place.

    “The DA calls for a full explanation from the Human Settlements MEC… and we will no longer accept her hiding behind the excuse that the problems are inherited – the rot still exists in her department and she needs to address this now,” Mari said.

    The latest audit report follows a recent outlining by Govender’s office of its achievements this year which it said included the creation of 25 138 work opportunities through its Expanded Public Works Program from April to September.