Cape Town - Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille has announced a full-scale investigation into her department’s failure to pay its service providers with the prescribed 30-day period.
In a statement, the department announced that it had 2085 invoices which had not been paid, which De Lille slammed.
The bulk of these included facilities management accounts relating to day-to-day maintenance which was carried out on departmental buildings (80%) and a work control system which is used to for managing major construction projects, the department said.
De Lille, also the leader of GOOD party, was appointed into the department in a surprise move by President Cyril Ramaphosa when he assembled his cabinet for the sixth administration after the general elections.
The former Cape Town mayor vowed to hit the ground running in ensuring the department performs its tasks accordingly.
She said the reasons given by the department for the failures, including processes which had been done outside of supply chain management, late submission of quotations and verification and certification problems of work done were not good enough and unacceptable.
De Lille said this went against Ramaphosa’s recent warning to departments against the frustration of entrepreneurs whose non-payment harmed the survival and growth of small and medium-sized businesses.
“The president has called on us to serve. So, we need to serve for public good and, by extension, fix South Africa. The buck stops with us. We need to return to the Batho Pele principles,” she said.
According to De Lille’s spokesperson Leigh-Anne Jansen, she was in the process of implementing a contract management system and consequence management system in a bid to keep track of payments in a bid to punish those who failed to comply with what was legally required of them.
Addressing senior officials of the department last month De Lille said she had been warned that the department was infested with corruption, factionalism and maladministration.
She said she would however bring the much-needed change at a higher and faster gear.
‘We are not going to talk about accountability, we are going to be accountable, and when we fall short, we must accept the consequences that must follow,” she said.