Pretoria - Six Gauteng provincial government departments, including Health and Education, incurred unauthorised expenditure of more than R1.6 billion in the last financial year which ended on March 31 2022.
These were the shocking revelations placed before Gauteng’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) where the six departments were named.
Some of these departments used funds budgeted for savings to buy goods and services.
It emerged that as of March 31, six departments within the provincial the government incurred unauthorised expenditure as follows:
• Economic Development
R 16.7 million.
• Health R653.9 million.
• Education R935.8 million.
• Social Development R29 million.
• Human Settlements R7.1 million.
• Infrastructure Development R30.3 million.
Yesterday, the DA’s spokesperson on Scopa, Ina Cilliers, said the unauthorised expenditure to the tune of R1.6 billion was placing an extra financial burden on the residents of the province and had a negative impact on service delivery.
“Unauthorised expenditure occurs when more money is paid for goods and services than was initially budgeted for.
“If a department utilises a saving from the salaries budget to buy goods and services, such expenditure is also unauthorised,” Cilliers said.
Should Scopa find that the procedures in the guidelines for authorised expenditure were not followed or the criteria not satisfied, it would recommend that the unauthorised amount be recouped from the new budget before any other money is spent, she said..
“In the case of health, the department will forfeit almost R636 million from its new budget to pay for the previous year’s over-expenditure if Scopa so recommends.
“This means that a critical service like health will have to provide services with an even more constrained budget, which will negatively impact the residents of Gauteng. Our residents will have to wait longer as some public healthcare services may not have sufficient healthcare personnel or equipment.
“If this mismanagement of public funds is not fixed in time, officials do not face consequence management, and money is not repaid, Scopa can punish unauthorised expenditure by making departments pay out of their new budgets,” she said.
She said the DA would insist that Scopa ensures that the Unauthorised Expenditure Bill adopted by the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) in 2016 be signed into law.
Cilliers said the bill makes provision for the Provincial Treasury to assist some departments by paying off historic unauthorised expenditures if the departments have given satisfactory reasons for the unauthorised expenditure.
“Where a department has unauthorised expenditure that is unjustified it must be funded from the department’s own budget,” she said.
She said the DA would write to the GPL Scopa chairperson, Sochayile Khanyile, demanding the Unauthorised Expenditure Bill be signed into law to ensure GPG departments adhere to all provincial and national treasury guidelines.
“By adhering to this bill, government departments will be forced to budget correctly and spend money wisely to benefit our residents.”