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Mogajane: Money not the problem for North West province

North West politicians in charge of departments put under administration by the national government have backed the move, acknowledging deep dysfunction in the province’s financial management and governance.

National Treasury's Director-General Dondo Mogajane. Picture: YouTube screengrab

CAPE TOWN - North West politicians in charge of departments put under administration by the national government have backed the move, acknowledging deep dysfunction in the province’s financial management and governance.

They were appearing before the National Council of Provinces ad hoc committee set up to oversee and ratify the intervention, which came after weeks of escalating protests and calls for former premier, Supra Mahumapelo, to step down.

National Treasury and the Office of the Auditor-General on Wednesday painted a grim picture of the state of financial management and oversight in the province, which has racked up an accumulated irregular expenditure bill of R15.3 billion.

Mahumapelo resigned last month and on Friday, Job Mokgoro was sworn in to replace him, a job he describes as “not easy”.

North West has a hefty budget of R36 billion plus for its fewer than 4 million residents, yet people kept children at home and burned down schools because promises of tarred roads somehow “fell through the cracks”, the committee was told.

Treasury Director-General Dondo Mogajane says the province holds more than a billion rand in cash and money is not the problem.

“We’re not saying the province can collapse tomorrow because of funding, that’s not the case.”

Instead, the problem lies with decisions taken under the political leadership of former premier Supra Mahumapelo, as well as lack of skills, mismanagement, the rapid turnover of heads of departments and the sometimes deliberate flouting of the rules meant to ensure public funds are spent for the public good.