Cape Town - DEFENCE and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula on Tuesday said irregular expenditure in her department continued to increase by R3 billion a year.
Tabling her budget vote, Mapisa-Nqakula said the department had six audit qualifications in 2018/19 which were reduced to two for the 2019/2020 financial year.
“The auditor-general has raised numerous deficiencies in our control systems and we acknowledge, as a Department, that we have weaknesses in our governance and control systems as well as challenges within the Supply Chain management environment,” she said.
Mapisa-Nqakula said the recurrence of irregular expenditure based on previous contracts awarded irregularly, continued to increase.
“The bulk of our recorded irregular expenditure relates to the underfunding of our compensation of employees as it relates to the National Treasury-imposed ceiling.
“This currently stands at R5.6bn, and is estimated to continue to increase by approximately R3bn per year.”
She said the auditor-general had also identified material irregularities on contracts awarded irregularly in the past.
“These have and continue to be investigated internally by the department.
“The Secretary for Defence and Chief of the SANDF will ensure consequence management is implemented and controls are put in place to reduce the occurrence of irregularities and fast-track the investigations into these occurrences,” Mapisa-Nqakula said.
The minister said they continued to strive to improve financial management systems and ensure the clean and transparent administration of our resources.
“This is why I have directed the repositioning of the Defence Secretariat.”
Mapisa-Nqakula also used the occasion to report on the ministerial task team she commissioned to investigate allegations and trends of sexual misconduct, both in internal and peace support operations.
She said the task team had produced a report with recommendations to effectively deal with sexual misconduct and further to put into practice measures that aimed to support victims and processes that dealt with perpetrators.
The minister said her department has taken specific action and was in the process of instituting interventions.
“First, we have created a specialised sexual offence unit within the military police structure to investigate offences for prosecution in the military justice system.
“Second, we have created a ministerial hotline and a sexual misconduct office within the department to co-ordinate the misconduct centre.”
Mapisa-Nqakula also said they had created a central electronic registry that would accurately monitor and report monthly on the statistics submitted by services and divisions.
“We have created a sexual harassment policy and an ethics policy based on which departmental punitive actions can be taken against offenders.”
She also said they had established strict confidentiality measures and were updating their training curriculum to mainstream gender as well the awareness and consequences of sexual misconduct.
“In addition, we have developed an action plan to serve as a monitoring tool and started the process of aligning the general regulations and other functional regulations to ensure compliance and consequence management of offences.”