Picture: Twitter/@TreasuryRSA

PARLIAMENT - Parliament's watchdog on public accounts on Wednesday sent a delegation from the South African National Treasury packing following the failure of its accounting officer to pitch for a meeting.

National Treasury director-general Dondo Mogajane was meant to appear before Parliament's standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) to present a report on contract deviations and expansions for the first quarter of this year. Instead only acting chief procurement officer Willie Mathebula attended.

Scopa identified billions of rands of leakage from departments because contracts between government and service providers were being extended or proper procurement processes were not followed, something that should only be done under exceptional circumstances, but which MPs believed had become the norm.

After MPs complained that allowing Mathebula to continue the briefing would set a precedent where accounting officers could continue showing Parliament disrespect, committee chair Themba Godi cut the meeting short.

In addition, MPs are seriously considering billing Mogajane for his failed appearance.

"We can't have these meetings without consequences. There must be cost recovery. Mr Mathebula has come down from Pretoria and the DG is not here," said Inkatha Freedom Party MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa.

"The DG must be held personally liable for this. The taxpayers cannot continue paying for these manufactured junkets."

African News Agency/ANA