NEWS & ANALYSIS

NWest Speaker must account for R167m in irregular expenditure – Joe McGluwa

DA PL says committee tasked to investigate was supposed to submit its report December last year

North West Speaker must account for R167 million irregular expenditure

22 May 2018

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has slammed the recent Audit Outcome on the North West Provincial Legislature (NWPL) during a meeting of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) that took place on 9 May 2018.

According to the Auditor-General's report, the Speaker's Office of the North West Legislature had incurred a staggering amount of R102 million in irregular expenditure for the last financial year and more than R105 million for the previous years.

The Department's response to this was that R40 million had gone towards salaries while the remaining R167 million has been investigated.

However, the truth is that the committee that was tasked to investigate the R167 million was supposed to submit its report in December last year already. This did not happen and apparently the report has been submitted to the Speaker for ratification. The DA will ask questions on the status of the report, and whether any action has been taken. We will demand the Speaker to table the report and allow members to debate it.

It is clear that the Speaker's Office has little regard for the Financial Management of Parliament and Provincial Legislature Act (FMPPLA).

The FMPPLA is clear on these transgressions and we cannot allow fruitless, wasteful and unauthorized expenditure to carry on unabated.

The DA believes that one of the causes of the Legislature's poor financial management, is the lack of skills within its Finance Unit. Instead, the Legislature employed consultants to prepare financial statements at an exorbitant cost of between R1.2 million and R1.5 million per month.

The DA will ask questions about who the service provider is, what the contractual agreement is and why no transferral of skills has been done by the consulting company.

We further call on the North West Provincial Legislature to urgently address the lack of consequences for poor performance or transgressions, the lack of skills within the Finance Unit, affecting the quality of financial statements as well as lack of review in terms of daily and monthly processing and reconciliation of transactions.

The North West is bleeding under ANC-rule. Last week the latest Municipal Financial Sustainability Index revealed that our province, together with the Free State, has the weakest provinces in the country as far as financial management is concerned. We can not afford that the Legislature in this provinces also suffers under bad financial management.

The DA holds the Speaker, Susanna Dantjie, accountable and we will continue to demand answers and feedback on the fruitless, wasteful and unauthorized expenditure in the North West Legislature.

Issued by Joe McGluwa, Caucus leader to the DA in the NW Provincial Legislature, 22 May 2018