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DWS paid out R31.5m in bonuses in spite of shaky finances, MPs hear

The decision has been questioned in Parliament, where the office of the Auditor-General has been briefing the water and sanitation oversight committee.

FILE: Gugile Nkwinti, Water and Sanitation Minister. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN – The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) staff were paid bonuses in spite of the department's dismal performance and shaky finances.

The decision has been questioned in Parliament, where the office of the Auditor General has been briefing the water and sanitation oversight committee.

Both the department and its water trading entity have received qualified audits for the second successive year, with the Auditor-General warning that there's uncertainty about their ability to continue as going concerns.

The DWS has an overdraft of R119 million, a cumulative unauthorised expenditure bill of nearly R1 billion and owes its creditors just over R2 billion.

While the department spent almost all of its R15.6 billion budget, it achieved only 52% of its planned targets.

But in spite of its poor performance and precarious finances, R31.5 million was paid out in bonuses in the past financial year, sparking outrage in the committee.

Democratic Alliance MP Leon Basson questioned the decision.

“Who agreed to pay performance bonuses of R31.5 million to officials with this kind of achievement?”

The department’s Deputy Director General for corporate services, Squire Mahlangu, told MPs the bonuses were mostly paid only to employees on lower salary levels.

He said the “performance rewards” were based on agreements staffers had with their managers, and were not linked to the department’s performance outcomes.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)

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