TRACE THE CASH
THE FACT that it is difficult to assess exactly how much departments spend on consultants makes the jobs of politicians who are supposed to hold them to account less straightforward. The difficulty lies in the contradictory way in which these figures are reported. In other words, there doesn’t seem to be a single definition as to what consultancy spending actually is. This was highlighted in a PSAM research report compiled by Dr Neil Overy, who concluded that this resulted in a mismatch between treasury figures and those in provincial annual reports. For example, the national department of education 2004/2005 annual report notes in its financial statements that it spent R29,4m on “consultants, contractors and special services”. But, the same report notes under “utilisation of consultants” that it spent R87m.
“This failure to report consistently and openly prevents oversight bodies such as portfolio committees and the auditor-general from knowing how much each department spends on consultants,” said Overy.