Govt racks up R30bn in irregular spending

Govt and public entities racked up a R30.8bn bill in unauthorised and fruitless spending.

South African Parliament. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - Government departments and public entities racked up more than R30 billion in irregular, unauthorised and fruitless spending in the past financial year.

The figures were revealed in a report released by Auditor-General Terence Nombembe on Wednesday, where it also emerged government has so far been unable to prosecute a single official for abuse of taxpayers' money.

The amount of R30.8 billion spent by officials in breach of the rules is slightly less than the previous year's R33 billion.

But it represents a massive drain of money that could have been spent on delivering services.

Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu confirmed the government has failed to bring to book a single guilty official since the Public Finance Management Act came into being in 1999.

She says the government is moving to close loopholes in administrative processes that until now have seen officials suspended for lengthy periods on full pay and mounting legal challenges.