South Africa: Holding Officials, Service Providers Accountable

The Department of Public Service and Administration is considering charging officials and service providers liable for unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

"We will be engaging with the Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA), National Treasury and the relevant executive to investigate each case and charge the implicated officials and service providers. Efforts must also be made to recover all monies," Minister for the Public Service and Administration Senzo Mchunu said.

The Minister was in Pretoria on Monday, addressing members of the media on the Guide for Members of the Executive (the Ministerial Handbook) and the filling of vacant positions in the public service.

The cost of public administration has multiple complex elements, including not exclusively limited to people, processes and systems, he said at the media briefing held at the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS).

This as the Committee of Ministers has identified unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure; litigation; IT systems and government leases, maintenance and refurbishment as leaks in the cost of public administration.

The Committee of Ministers is comprised of the Ministers of Finance, Public Works and Infrastructure and the Public Service and Administration Departments.

"As identified by the AGSA, unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure is not abating and there is very little consequence management. Some government institutions are engaging in intergovernmental litigation and wasteful or unnecessary litigation, which adds to government expenditure," the Minister said.

He said the State has neither optimally leveraged growth and advances in technology, nor economies of scale cohesively and effectively - resulting in government lagging behind in Information and communications technology (ICT) and not procuring and developing systems in a fragmented manner that increases costs, duplications development times.

"There is room to re-examine above to contain spending by reducing rental and other costs, while improving the state and condition of our buildings.

"We also have a responsibility to restore confidence in the public by employing public servants with impeccable record of good governance since they are entrusted with managing public finances," said Mchunu.

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