Controlling the strings of the purse
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.