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Mokonyane: I inherited dept's historic debt problems

Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane appeared before Scopa to explain R2,5 billion in irregular expenditure dating back to 2015 and 2016.

FILE: Water & Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane has tried to pass the buck for the state of financial management in her department.

She appeared before Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) on Tuesday to explain R2,5 billion in irregular expenditure dating back to 2015 and 2016.

Mokonyane dismissed suggestions that the rapid turnover and suspension of senior staff is creating instability, saying that she had inherited many of the historic debt problems.

Scopa says it appears that the finances of the Water and Sanitation Department are getting worse.

It's carrying over unpaid debt of R1.5 billion from previous financial years and its wasted millions in double and even triple payments to suppliers, using the same invoice.

But Mokonyane begged the committee's indulgence until the latest financials are tabled.

“I think let's wait for the report. I agree part of what we will be able to do is explain how we arrived at that particular amount, noting some of the pressures we also had to respond to.”

Mokonyane says that her department has been forced to overspend in emergencies because municipalities are not up to the job of managing their projects.

Meanwhile, Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille is to meet with Mokonyane on Wednesday to discuss the drought gripping the city.

De Lille is expected to ask for further help from national government to mitigate the impact of the water shortage.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)