President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Kopano Tlape / GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - The African Christian Democratic Party is appalled by the lack of financial turnaround in government departments and state-owned enterprises (SoEs), the party said on Saturday.

"The Auditor General Kimi Makwetu has released the final audit findings for national and provinces. What we can take from that report is that there is no new dawn in South Africa," ACDP deputy leader Wayne Thring said in a statement.

President Cyril Ramaphosa had repeatedly stated there would be a cleaning up of government departments, but "we are falling further away from that dream". 

The AG report indicated that irregular spending in government departments increased to R62.2 billion in 2018/19 compared with R51 billion in 2017/18. This could not be tolerated, and action needed to be taken to fix departments and get rid of the rot, he said.

The ACDP called for the removal of under-performing chief financial officers, chief executives, and executives who had signing power and oversight responsibilities in these departments.

South Africa was facing a difficult time with high unemployment and slow to no service delivery, and there was no room to squander billions of rand with no accountability.

It was also reported that not one of the 14 SoEs audited by the AG managed to obtain a clean audit. While budget expenditure on key programmes such as health, school infrastructure, housing, and public works stood at 95 percent, targets had not been met. "Where is that money going and what is it being used on if not service delivery?"

This reality showed that the multitude of turnaround plans initiated almost annually had no impact in restoring the SoE environment. South Africa needed fresh ideas and leadership that could reset the foundation.

The ACDP had repeatedly said that corruption would only be eradicated when South Africa had competent, trustworthy, servant leaders who took seriously the stewardship of state resources and were passionate about improving the lives of all South Africans, "which we are not getting from the current government".

"The ACDP is committed to taking decisive action to stop state capture and root out corruption in state departments and SoEs. There needs to be a move to make sure that auditing is not compromised and ensure efficient oversight by professional umbrella organisations to curb corruption and state capture. South Africans have a choice to make and need to make it fast before we are faced with more wasted years under the same leadership," Thring said.

African News Agency