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Sat Nov 01 02:23:47 SAST 2014

Limpopo woes deepen

DENISE WILLIAMS | 19 November, 2012 00:037 Comments
File Picture.

The much-vaunted national intervention in Limpopo appears to have led to serious chaos and poor service delivery.

A draft report, due to be tabled in parliament today, offers insight into how a good plan to save an ailing province has gone horribly wrong, with poor communications between various departments.

The report is the result of a visit by the select committee on finance in September.

Limpopo had been placed under national administration a year ago because it had essentially run itself into bankruptcy.

The departments of health, education, public works, transport and roads and the treasury were placed under administration.

But while Limpopo has improved its bank balance, the committee noted that there had been no clear guidelines for the massive intervention, which cost national treasury R17-million.

"The task team neither had clear plans with specified time-frames, terms of reference with indication of scope of the intervention and deliverables .," the committee's report states.

Three administrators had been appointed for the department of education within eight months.

The skills of the administrators to perform as accounting officers were questioned. Departments that had been functioning before the administrators' involvement had fallen into disarray.

"According to the office of the premier, some departments that were not under section 100 (1)(b) of the constitution were now being negatively affected."

The report said the finance committee would recommend to treasury that they introduce legislation that would provide regulations on cabinet interventions in terms of section 100.

But the committee acknowledged certain improvements, including filling vacancies and centralising procurement processes.

Treasury spokesman Jabulani Sikhakhane said Limpopo had benefited from the intervention.

He said that when treasury intervened, the province owed suppliers more than R1.2-billion, but that amount had been reduced to R250-million.

Included in the R250-million were contracts being investigated for alleged breach of tender regulations and failure to submit proof of claims against the department.

He said that, as of November 1, Limpopo had a cash reserve of R2.3-billion as compared to R700-million. The province is also appealing for a further R1-billion.

"These improvements in the province's finances have made it possible for the national intervention team to address gaps in the provision of public services.," said Sikhakhane.

DOESN'T PAY, WON'T SPEND

THE department of cooperative governance, human settlements and traditional affairs has been unable to pay its contractors since December;

The department of transport had 25 unpaid invoices older than 30 months, amounting to R5.8-million;

The termination of the project management unit contract led the department of education to spend R190-million against a budget of R942-million for conditional grants. Only R5.8-million of a budget allocation of R26.7-million had been spent on the technical secondary school recapitalisation programme;

Not a cent of the R18.5-million budgeted for the education department's extended public works programme social grant had been spent; and

Public works had to delay 40 projects - including libraries, hospitals and primary healthcare centres.

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Limpopo woes deepen

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