Eskom spent R19.6bn irregularly. File Photo: IOL
Eskom spent R19.6bn irregularly. File Photo: IOL

CAPE TOWN – The ANC government has racked up R75.6 billion in irregular, fruitless, and wasteful spending in the 2017/18 financial year, the DA said on Sunday.

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen and DA shadow minister of public enterprises Natasha Mazzone told journalists at parliament in Cape Town that the DA had analysed the 2017/18 annual reports of government departments and selected entities tabled in parliament.

"Our analysis reveals a shocking level of financial mismanagement and wasted funds by the failing ANC government," they said. 

Total Irregular expenditure – spending not properly managed and sometimes an indicator of corruption – had reached a staggering level of R72.6bn. The composite analysis compiled last year by the DA revealed that total irregular expenditure across all departments and entities stood at R42.8bn.

The figure for the most recent year was double what was incurred in the previous year and did not include all departments and entities as some had yet to table their report, they said.

Departments and entities that spent the most money irregularly included Eskom (R19.6bn); the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) (R10.5bn); Transnet (R8.1bn); the water and sanitation departement (R6.2bn); SABC (R5bn); Water Trading Entity (R4.9bn); correctional services department (R3.2bn); basic education department (R1.7bn); defence department (R1.7bn); international relations and co-operation department (R1.2bn); SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) (R1.7 billion); and the SA Post Office (R1bn).

Fruitless and wasteful spending that had no benefit to the public and was wasted due to a lack of reasonable care and the basic requirements of management totaled another R3bn – enough money to build 75 new schools.

The departments and entities that wasted the most money were the Water Trading Entity (R1bn); Compensation Fund (R446 million); and the defence department (R398m).

"As bad as these figures are, they are just the tip of the iceberg; serial offenders Denel, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), SAA, and SA Express have not yet tabled their annual reports for 2017/18. This means that the totals for irregular, fruitless, and wasteful expenditure is likely to be much higher than what we are currently able to glean from the reports which have been tabled," Steenhuisen and Mazzone said.

If these entities reported the same irregular and wasteful spending figures as they did in 2016/17, the total amount of money spent irregularly could rise to R94.5 billion. Fruitless and wasteful expenditure could rise to R4 billion.

"These are not abstract figures. Mismanagement and wasteful spending results in poor service delivery and skyrocketing costs to the public. Yet the ANC continues to make the public pay for its terrible mismanagement and corruption, in higher electricity and water prices, increases in VAT and fuel taxes.

"Endless bailouts of the most corrupt state-owned entities have drained public funds, requiring a VAT increase that impacts poor South Africans the most. The country’s finances are in a dire state. Not only did the ANC get us to this point, but they have no plan to fix what they have broken," Steenhuisen and Mazzone said.

African News Agency (ANA)