R4m state assets unaccounted for

THE Mpumalanga department of social development is unable to account for more than R4million worth of assets.

This was revealed yesterday yesterday when the department appeared before the select committee on public accounts (Scopa) at the legislature.

Scopa chairperson Fish Mahlalela demanded to know whether the department had managed to trace the 192 assets they had "lost".

These assets include cars, laptops, machinery and equipment.

At first, the department said they would respond to this question at a later stage, but Mahlalela insisted that officials provide the committee with answers as the department had weeks to prepare themselves.

Departmental acting head Kholeka Ngalo then blamed lack of capacity for their failure to trace the assets.

"We don't have enough employees who can physically verify those assets," said Ngalo.

It was revealed that additions as per the fixed assets register differ from the additions as disclosed in the financial statement to the amount of R20840000.

Supporting schedules could also not be provided in respect of opening balances amounting to R61911000.

"These discrepancies are attributed to the lack of capacity and understanding for the use of the LOGIS system," said Ngalo.

The department has materially underspent the budget by R38million.

Nearly R70000 incurred during 2002-2003 as fruitless and wasteful expenditure in the department is still waiting for condonement - four years later.

The expenditure of R69289,90 was incurred in 2003 when two officials, identified only as Thabethe and Mathebula, were involved in a car accident while driving a state vehicle.