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R3.5bn of taxpayers' money wasted

Public Works Dept has racked up a bill of more than R3.5 billion in irregular spending.

The Public Works Department has racked up a bill of more than R3.5 billion in irregular spending.

CAPE TOWN - Deputy Public Works Minister Jeremy Cronin said on Wednesday government is not proud of the billions of taxpayers' money wasted by the department.

A review of over a million transactions since 2009 shows the department racked up a bill of more than R3.5 billion in irregular spending.

Key areas of concern were building leases and construction projects, where millions were spent fruitlessly.

The deputy minister said the picture painted is a grim one.

A number of officials have been sacked or are facing disciplinary or criminal action, while the Special Investigating Unit is probing a string of cases.

"The Auditor-General is picking up significant progress, but there's still a long way to go."

The rapid turnover of ministers and director generals at the department was highlighted as affecting both governance and performance.