Arrest deterioration of public finance management

Trade union UASA says government needs to take urgent action to correct the appalling state of governance of public funds. This is after the auditor general office released a statement showing further deterioration.

Here follows the unedited UASA statement:

Pres. Jacob Zuma’s promises in last year’s State of the Nation speech that ministers’ performance will be monitored, appear to have been mere lip-service.

Shocking figures announced by Auditor-General Terence Nombembe show the number of clean audits for state entities declined from 152 to 132 over the past three years. Despite improvements in certain areas, this raises concerns that ministers are not in control of their respective departments and/or are not willing to accept accountability for it.

UASA calls for greater transparency in respect of exposing the number and identities of public servants who continue to do business with government.

As reported, contracts awarded to companies in which state employees had an interest amounted to R438,1 million in the year under review. Despite the “promises” by pres. Zuma about actions against state employees doing business with government, close relatives of state employees pocketed R141,4-million in lucrative government contracts in the 2011/2012 financial year, an increase from the R136-million identified in the previous year.

In his reports, Nombembe urges government to improve its systems so as to give taxpayers value for their money, but this seems to fall on deaf ears.

It is clear that, as a matter of urgency, we need to pursue a different course of action that will yield better results.  Had this situation occurred in the private sector, the relevant employees, CFOs and/or CEOs would have been fired a long time ago. There is absolutely no reason why state officials and government ministers should be treated any different from their counterparts in the private sector.

It is time government takes charge of the situation once and for all, otherwise the ruling party could be in for a nasty surprise in the forthcoming general elections in 2014.

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