Auditor General Kimi Makwetu
Cape Town - Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu has warned that government departments spent R13 billion on information technology (IT) systems, but the entities could not nail officials involved in corruption.

He said the money spent on IT was not value for money given there were no internal controls in national and provincial departments to clamp down on fraud and corruption.

He said the weak IT systems would not be able to help the state to fight this scourge. Makwetu was briefing the standing committee on public accounts.

He said there was a big gap between the money spent on IT and the ability to fight corruption.

“This has increased the risk of unauthorised and/or fraudulent transactions being processed on the system,” said Makwetu.

The Anti-Corruption Task Team, in its last report in Parliament, uncovered cases of corruption to the value of R10bn.

The Special Investigating Unit is trying to recoup R14.7bn in stolen public funds through the Special Tribunal.

The tribunal began its work three weeks ago and is chaired by Judge Gidfonia Mlindelwa Makhanya. He is assisted by seven other judges.

Makwetu said irregular expenditure was increasing, yet there were IT systems.

According to his report, irregular expenditure increased from R50bn in national and provincial departments, to R61bn.

“Irregular expenditure is on the high but the weaknesses are also staring at us,” said Makwetu.

He said for the past 11 years people who had transgressed knew there would be no action taken.

He said the combination of all these things had led to the situation where there was an urgent need to deal with corruption.

The auditor-general said the Public Audit Act, which was signed into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa early this year, would give him more powers to deal with corrupt officials.

Part of the work is to give the accounting officer time to deal with those implicated in malfeasance. But if he fails to act against corrupt people the auditor-general will issue a certificate of debt to recover the money from the accounting officer.

He said the time for people to think nothing would be done when they have transgressed was over. Officials would have to toe the line.

Politics Bureau