Zero tolerance in legislature
KwaZulu-Natal chief whip Cyril Xaba has warned officials that the legislature will not tolerate irregularities or mismanagement of finance and that stern action would be taken against any perpetrators.
The tongue-lashing comes in the wake of the tabling of the audit report into financial mismanagement against Jabulani Mjwara, head of the agricultural department, and Petrus Mahlangu, its chief financial officer. The two face disciplinary hearings for allegedly overspending by R100million.
"Prudent financial management is a cornerstone of a successful government. All senior officials are obliged to follow the prescripts of the Public Finance Management Act to the letter.
"As soon as any digression is detected, the legislature will not sit idle, but stern action will be instituted," Xaba said.
The audit report was commissioned after a resolution on October 26. The resolution was a direct response to unsatisfactory answers given to the legislature committee by the department's senior officials and numerous allegations of lapses in corporate governance detected by both the finance portfolio committee and standing committee on public accounts (Scopa).
The report paints a bleak picture of the management of financial and other resources of the department. It concludes that there was a breakdown in the overall management; a material misstatement and-or fundamental uncertainty in the financial statements.
It showed a breakdown in accounting and reporting standards - a potential for material fraud. It also appears in the report that there was no support documentation for expenditure of more than R100million.
"These findings are shocking. The ANC in the legislature supports the executive decision to charge both Mjwara and Mahlangu," Xaba said.
"We call upon the executive to speed up the full forensic probe into the department as recommended by the Treasury's internal audit team."
He said the party wanted to send a clear message that they will not tolerate errant officials.
"We have decided to raise the bar in respect of our constitutional oversight duties."
Premier Sbu Ndebele is expected to hold a hearing this week.