12 February 2013

South Africa: Senior Public Sector Managers Should Be Held Accountable for Allowing Irregular Expenditure in the Government Sector

NEHAWU is deeply disturbed by the Auditor –General’s announcement that state and municipal financial controls are regressing and that irregular expenditure by government departments has doubled over the past three years. These loose financial controls have allowed looting to take place and are threatening the financial stability of these public service delivery agents.

According to the Auditor General, only 43% of national government departments and 22% of municipalities are able to fulfil the supply chain management regulations. Apparently only 43% of government departments received clean audits and only 18% of municipalities have managed to do so. This is disgraceful and offensive to the millions of taxpayers and poor people who expect that the country’s resources are well managed and used to better their lives.

Government should investigate the primary reasons for this unacceptable breakdown of management systems and the collapse of service delivery. It is blatantly obvious that some people, in government, are not just reckless with the country’s resources but they lack the capacity to administer them. This resurrect the question of whether public sector managers, who are entrusted with the taxpayer’s money, possess adequate educational qualifications, proper management skills and sufficient work experiences to manage the resources and deliver the necessary services.

Government across-the-board needs to review its management control systems so as to improve its capacity to evaluate the performance of different organizational resources like human, physical and financial. Our government must assess the role played by outsourcing and the tender system in corrupting the public sector and depleting the scarce public resources.

It is obvious that there are internal deficiencies in government departments and municipalities that need to be fixed immediately. These internal deficiencies are the reason why most government departments use private sector consultants. This is caused by both corruption and ineptitude. NEHAWU calls for stricter monitoring and evaluation mechanisms in order to reverse the looming calamity of government collapse. Managers must be made to account for their failures and there should be consequences for irregular expenditure by government departments.

Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat Office

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