Limpopo may own properties not on its books
The Limpopo government may own properties that are unaccounted for and it could take a long time before these assets are identified.
This was according to evidence given by Rob Tooley, head of Limpopo treasury, to the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) in Polokwane yesterday.
Tooley said, of the nine provinces, Limpopo was the only one which did not have a credible asset register.
He said this had cost the province close to R120million.
Tooley said the situation was so serious that the national treasury would need to provide training to officials of the Limpopo government to improve their assets management skills.
He said the system currently used in the province had serious limitations. It was not known why the province had chosen a different system from other provinces.
The auditor-general's report had identified the poor maintenance of the fixed assets register as the primary reason why physical verification of individual asset items was difficult.
Tooley said in some cases, assets with a high monetary value were recorded as of a lower value.
He said many assets were only bar-coded and recorded after the matter had been brought to the attention of the management by means of audit queries.
Scopa has ordered director-general, Nelly Manzini, to submit a written report that would fully respond to questions posed by members of Scopa by June 22.
Scopa members said Manzini should provide a detailed response showing a clear breakdown of expenses.
Manzini was also questioned about the hiring of lawyers whose briefs included work that could have been done by the province's human resources departments.
Members raised concerns regarding what they said was "gross neglect of duty" by the director-general.
She was also questioned why the province had spent more than R37million on the services of the lawyers.
Scopa questioned the expenditure because the director-general said the province had capacity to handle legal issues.
The standing committee's chairman, Rudolf Phala, said the director-general would be given a chance to formulate a proper response to all the queries that had been raised.