Con­trol­ling the strings of the purse

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - OPINION -

SOUTH Africans pay a lot of taxes. To be more pre­cise, R1.35 tril­lion this fi­nan­cial year. But that’s just for our na­tional govern­ment.

The prov­inces raise their own taxes through mo­tor ve­hi­cle li­cences and gam­bling. Lo­cal govern­ment also takes money from us through rates and fines. So, it is frus­trat­ing when lit­tle re­spect is shown for our hard-earned money. This week our Au­di­tor-Gen­eral Kimi Mak­wetu re­vealed the ex­tent of the prob­lem based on what hap­pened in the last fi­nan­cial year:

R2.1 bil­lion was deemed unau­tho­rised ex­pen­di­ture, most of which was the re­sult of over­spend­ing

R2.5 bil­lion was said to be fruit­less and waste­ful ex­pen­di­ture

R51 bil­lion was de­clared ir­reg­u­lar ex­pen­di­ture

This state of af­fairs has been left unchecked for too many years. But that’s about to change. This week, Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa signed the Pub­lic Au­dit Amend­ment Act for pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion.

It would mean that, in fu­ture, the AG will have the power to act against govern­ment de­part­ments that show scant re­gard for pub­lic money.

It could even in­volve those con­trol­ling the money hav­ing to pay back. Fi­nally, there are con­se­quences for those who steal our money.

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