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Get your act together, Gauteng human settlements MEC told

Uhuru Moiloa.
Uhuru Moiloa.
Image: Thulani Mbele

Gauteng MEC for human settlements Uhuru Moiloa, his head of department and other senior officials received a stern rebuke during a public accounts committee (Scopa) meeting in the legislature, as MPLs were left fuming over the department's responses to its financial mess.

Moiloa and his team appeared before Scopa on Thursday to discuss the financial statement of the department for the 2017/18 financial year.

Its report revealed that department failed to spend more than R119m of the Human Settlements Development Grant. To make matters worse, the department owes more than R900m to services providers who were not paid within 30 days.

In its written response to the issue, the department said these were related to “security and legal costs, which were inevitable due to a rise in the spate of illegal land invasions and occupation of completed houses before allocation to the qualifying beneficiaries".

Scopa chair Mbongeni Radebe and committee members complained that the responses from the department were worse than the previous financial year.

“We need to get a sense that the money that is being spent on security is going down. But what has been happening is that that money is going up and it is not budgeted for, so it is irregular expenditure. There is no sense of integrated planning and efficient service delivery in the department,” Radebe said.

He also lashed out at the department's explanation that it is investigating certain irregularities, without providing details.

“We are just told that there are investigations. We are not told who is investigating. There is so much concealment of information and it makes the discussion very difficult... We don’t even know what to write in the report because of the kind of answers that you are giving us. In many cases we don’t even know if the investigation is taking place. It might be just an answer…It might be just a spin and then we need to be satisfied and move on. We are totally not happy.”

Trying to explain what was happening in the department, Moiloa said his CFO left soon after he took over.

Moiloa promised the committee that he would deal with the issues raised, “one by one”.

“Unfortunately, time is not on our side…There are several investigations that are taking place in the department…There are several of them where we are awaiting reports,” Moiloa said.

But committee member Molebatsi Bopape complained that the responses from the MEC were not convincing.

“The MEC is painting a picture that there is not going to be any remedy until the end of the administration.”

Radebe simply asked the MEC and his team to go back and get their act together and bring answers to the questions that had been raised by Scopa.

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