Min­is­ter failed to meet depart­ment’s com­mit­tee

The Star Early Edition - - METRO - MAYIBONGWE MAQHINA

THE WA­TER and San­i­ta­tion Depart­ment dropped a bomb­shell when it told Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day that its au­dit com­mit­tee never met former min­is­ter Nomvula Mokonyane to re­port the sham­bles in the in­sti­tu­tion’s fi­nances.

This was re­vealed when the depart­ment and the Wa­ter Trad­ing En­tity ap­peared be­fore the stand­ing com­mit­tee on pub­lic ac­counts (Scopa) to ac­count about its fi­nances.

In his 2017/18 re­port, Au­di­tor-Gen­eral Kimi Mak­wetu found that the depart­ment in­curred R1.6bn in ir­reg­u­lar ex­pen­di­ture and R4.5bn in pre­vi­ous years.

This took place against the back­drop of weak in­ter­nal con­trols and the depart­ment’s lead­er­ship marred by act­ing di­rec­tors-gen­eral and in­sta­bil­ity in the chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer po­si­tion.

Yes­ter­day, Scopa heard that the depart­ment had a func­tional au­dit com­mit­tee that in­ter­acted with act­ing di­rec­tor-gen­eral Deb­o­rah Mo­chotlhi, a move de­scribed as en­cour­ag­ing to en­gage the man­age­ment on the risks that were be­ing iden­ti­fied.

How­ever, au­dit com­mit­tee chair­per­son Japie du Plessis said the com­mit­tee, ap­pointed in April 2016, con­sisted of only two mem­bers, after an­other re­signed in July.

“We is­sued ev­ery quar­ter a re­port from the au­dit com­mit­tee to the min­is­ter, and our first re­port was is­sued on Septem­ber 14, 2016 to min­is­ter Mokonyane, but we never had a meet­ing,” Du Plessis said.

He told of an in­stance when Mokonyane had or­dered her then chief of staff to set up a meet­ing with the com­mit­tee.

“The bot­tom line is the old min­is­ter and the au­dit com­mit­tee never had a meet­ing,” Du Plessis said.

He also said they met cur­rent min­is­ter Gugile Nk­winti on June 1 and there­after held two other meet­ings.

This was con­firmed by Mo­chotlhi, who said upon be­ing ap­pointed act­ing di­rec­tor-gen­eral by Nk­winti, the au­dit com­mit­tee had ex­pressed con­cern that they had been try­ing to meet Mokonyane over some time.

Mo­chotlhi had fa­cil­i­tated the meet­ing with Nk­winti, and these were sub­se­quently held reg­u­larly.

Du Plessis said they found huge back­logs on ir­reg­u­lar ex­pen­di­ture that were not in­ves­ti­gated. He also re­vealed that there had been no proper ir­reg­u­lar ex­pen­di­ture reg­is­ter.

Scopa chair­per­son Themba Godi noted that the min­utes of the au­dit com­mit­tee de­tailed cor­re­spon­dence sent to Nk­winti and Mokonyane.

When he asked about the min­is­ters’ re­sponses, Du Plessis said only Nk­winti had re­acted to their cor­re­spon­dence, and had in­structed Mo­chotlhi to ad­dress the au­dit find­ings.

Nomvula Mokonyane

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