Limpopo bail-out backfires

PLANS by the national government to bail out five financially strapped and mismanaged provincial departments in Limpopo have backfired and led to chaos and poor service delivery.

In a draft report, expected to be tabled today, the select committee on finance said the intervention, which was "supposed" to help the financially bereft province, has had a negative impact on service delivery, because of poor or non-existent communication between the administrators, the Premier's Office, the national ministers and department heads.

The committee made a second oversight visit in September to review the province's progress after the departments of health, education, public works, transport and roads as well as the treasury were placed under administration in December.

According to the committee, while Limpopo had improved its bank balance, its draft report noted that there had been unclear guidelines, which cost National Treasury R17-million.

Treasury spokesman Jabulani Sikhakhane declined to comment on the report, saying it is still to be finalised, but pointed out that the situation had improved.

He said before the intervention, the province owed suppliers more than R1.2-billion, which had dwindles to R250-million.

He said as of November 1, Limpopo had a cash reserve of R2.3-billion as compared to R700-million.