Agang South Africa notes with interest the lame attempts by the Gauteng health department to assuage public anger by countering yesterday’s media reports that it cannot account for R12 billion of taxpayer’s money for the 2012/2013 financial year.
Clarifying Auditor-General Terence Nombembe’s scathing report on the department’s flagrant disregard for regulations governing the use of public funds, the department’s spokesman, Simon Zwane said: “The amount consists of unauthorised expenditure, irregular expenditure as well as fruitless and wasteful expenditure accumulated over a period of seven years.”
Given the institutionalisation of mediocrity in the public service under the ruling ANC, it would come as no surprise that the health department expects the citizens of Gauteng to give it credit that it at least knows how it blows away their hard-earned money – by either wasting it, using it fruitlessly or spending it without the necessary authority.
This is a shocking example of just how the government has lowered the bar for accountability and probity in public office – small wonder government officials and public representatives keeps tripping on it with such boring regularity.
Meanwhile, it is poor people who suffer the effects of the deterioration of the public health and system, including the lack of drugs life-saving medication or access to doctors.
The Auditor General’s damning report also showed that department failed to pay its service providers within the stipulated 30 days, with devastating effects on their businesses – especially small businesses that are so crucial to job creation and sustainable poverty alleviation.
AgangSA finds this to be unacceptable, given the fact that South Africa produces highly skilled accountants and managers who are among the most sought after in the world. These are often side-lined and over-looked for jobs in line with the ruling party’s misguided policy of cadre deployment that favours party loyalty over ability and competence.
The persistent failure to ensure that public money is used wisely points to a scant regard for governance processes and leaves the door wide open to corruption.
AgangSA believes a vital part of creating a clean, competent government lies in the development of a professional civil service, wherein people are appointed on merit – with due regard to transformation imperatives.
Once appointed, such civil servants should be left to do their work as professionals, secure in the knowledge that they will not be replaced on the whim of political office bearers, especially following elections.This, together with investment in skills development, will result in significant improvement on the overall capabilities of the civil service.