Askies for blowing R6.7bn … Mpumalanga asks Treasury to overlook irregular expenditure

Parliament’s Select Committee on Finance has expressed concern over the poor performance in provincial education and health departments.

The committee was on Tuesday briefed by the National Treasury and the Mpumalanga provincial treasury on the preliminary outcomes of 2017/18 provincial expenditure‚ as at 31 May 2018.

“The committee noted with concern the overall fiscal risk pertaining to the education and health sectors‚ as well as high accruals‚” the committee’s chairperson Charel de Beer said.

“The committee agreed with National Treasury that skills capacity‚ particularly in project execution and planning should be sought by departments to reduce under spending on certain spending items and conditional grants.”

According to the committee‚ Mpumalanga has a record of unauthorised and under-expenditure‚ “indicating that employees are not doing their jobs‚ and which has serious implications for service delivery”.

Mpumalanga provincial treasury MEC Sikhumbuzo Kholwane told the committee that he was in discussions with the department of health on the possibility of the provincial treasury taking over the department.

“In its presentation‚ the National Treasury said the provincial health department’s accumulated unauthorised expenditure increased to approximately R200 million and irregular expenditure still awaiting condonation amounts to R6.7 billion.

“Accumulated accruals in the provincial department of education increased to almost R327 million and accumulated unauthorised expenditure increased to R705 million. Accumulated accruals increased from R661 million in 2015/16 to R1.3 billion in 2017/18‚” De Beer said.

“The select committee is concerned by the overall poor performance in provincial departments of health and education‚ which has been raised in all the presentations from provincial treasuries. This is disturbing and unacceptable.”

The committee urged provinces to adhere to principles within the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA)‚ as every year there is irregular expenditure‚ in addition to accruals the departments cannot spend.