AG: Majority of irregular spending due to govt officials flouting laws

Kimi Makwetu says 80% of cases of fraud or improper conduct on the part of state officials are investigated.

Auditor-general Kimi Makwetu. Picture: National CoGTA

CAPE TOWN – Auditor General Kimi Makwetu says the main reason for irregular expenditure ballooning to R46 billion during the past financial year is government officials flouting the law on spending.

Makwetu revealed some improvement in the number of clean audits when he released his report on the performance of national and provincial departments and entities at Parliament on Wednesday.

But he’s flagged the lack of consequences for these officials as part of the problem.

Makwetu says 80% of cases of fraud or improper conduct on the part of state officials are investigated, but only 25% result in disciplinary action.

“What we are saying in the report in terms of lack of consequence is these investigations do commence, in a number of instances, but they never get to fruition to the point where you can see the final outcome.”

Spending is deemed irregular when it doesn’t comply with the rules.

“So there is a long-winded process that is triggered, which is meant to address these instances but in most cases they do not get concluded expeditiously.”

Makwetu wants tougher action on officials who cross the line.

The Auditor General says this also allows for fraud and corruption.

“People who may have a shareholding in a particular company, or who are trading as employees of the state, could take advantage of this environment in terms of irregular expenditure.”

Makwetu’s lamented the lack of consequences for officials who incur irregular expenditure.

“The bottom line is that this is an area where potential savings could be made if instances on compliance with the regulations could be put on the table.”

He says the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa was responsible for nearly R14 billion of the irregular spending.

Visit EWN's special municipal spending portal - created in partnership with the Auditor-General - to see how your taxes are being spent at local government level.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)