THE NORTHERN Cape provincial government has lost “a lot of money” due to the allocation of illegal contracts to friends and families connected to public servants, and all contracts issued will be reviewed in the coming year to ensure their compliance.
This was stated by the MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Mac Jack, during yesterday’s Provincial Treasury budget presentation.
Jack warned that government officials needed to be committed to fighting fraud, corruption and waste as these created unnecessary impediments to investment and growth.
“Corruption is a cancer that has no place in our provincial government or our society.”
He added that random lifestyle audits would also be conducted for public representatives and senior managers.
Throwing a lifeline to financially struggling municipalities, Jack also referred to the debt owed by government departments to local authorities, committing his department to assisting in reconciling outstanding accounts and facilitating communication between municipalities and departments.
“We will also pilot three municipalities to improve data integrity on the billing systems and build strong internal controls in the revenue section. We will continue to put stringent measures in place to ensure that affected poor municipalities get paid by provincial government on time.”
The Department of Health, which is the second highest revenue collector in the Province, will also be assisted and supported to enhance its currently low revenue collection rate.
“We are in the process of appointing contract employees who will be based at hospitals to assist in improving revenue collection. These contract employees will serve as additional capacity to address the administration and collection of patient fees.”
According to Jack, Provincial Treasury was also in the process of reviewing the provincial supply chain policy and departments and municipalities would be required to revise their policies to give effect to the new regulations.
“Timeous payment of suppliers continues to be one of government’s key priorities and the responsibility is placed on all of us to ensure the sustainability of businesses by paying within 30 days or earlier.”
Jack stated that over the past year, an analyses showed that of the 12 provincial government departments, 11 had improved their payment rates, while four departments fully complied with the 30 days payment rule.