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Johannesburg - Gauteng lawmakers on Wednesday questioned whether there was any leadership in the provincial local government and housing department.
“Where is the leadership?” the provincial legislature's Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) chairman Sipho Makama asked.
The department needed to show commitment and sort out its problems.
“We need to be more serious... You are professionals.”
Makama was speaking to department senior staff attending a Scopa hearing on its 2012/13 annual report. The department received a qualified audit.
According to the report, there was underspending, late payment, and non-compliance.
Makama said there was a time when the department had received a clean audit and questioned what had happened since then. He asked why so many of the department's senior staff were in acting positions. There were acting heads of department and acting chief financial officers.
Some of these officials had been in acting positions for more than a year.
“You can't act for more than a year,” Makama said.
“Let's get this department settled. It's uncomfortable that we have... temporary posts.”
Acting local government MEC Eric Xayiya assured the committee the process of making permanent appointments had begun. However, he said those in acting positions had the authority to carry out their work.
The hearing was cut short because department officials failed to give adequate responses to questions about non-compliance.
The Auditor General listed senior managers who had not submitted performance agreements. Included on the list were acting heads of department who were at Wednesday's hearing. It emerged that some of the names on the list were not meant to be there.
Itumeleng Mokate, acting head of department for co-operative governance, whose name was on the list, told the committee it was a mistake.
“To say I decided not to comply is a misrepresentation,” she said.
“From my side the contract was signed.”
Mokate said she was under the impression that it had been corrected.
Makama said mistakes had to be dealt with, but at the same time he would not accept the department's reasons.
It was unacceptable, as his committee had sent questions to the department three times, giving it adequate time to formulate responses.
He gave the department until Tuesday to resubmit proper responses.
Earlier, Xayiya told Scopa the department had a number of problems and was under pressure to deliver housing in the province. He said the department had put together a plan and intended getting a clean audit next year.
“We are taking this matter very seriously. A clear programme will be developed,” he told the committee.