Treasury ‘wastes’ R1-billion on IT system

29 August 2017 - 15:38
By Babalo Ndenze
Image: iStock Images

The National Treasury is accused of “wasting” R1 billion it spent on an integrated financial management system which after more than a decade it has failed to implement.

MPs in parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) heard on Tuesday how the National Treasury’s Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) has cost the state with nothing to show for it.

The IFMS is a management tool for the public service and was meant to integrate human resource‚ payroll‚ financial and supply chain management functions. This was aimed at cutting costs.

Committee chairperson Themba Godi said Treasury and the State Information Technology Agency (Sita) could have done better in the implementation of the system.

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The implementation of the project was done in two phases after failures during the first phase. Sita‚ as the state information technology agency‚ was to have led its implementation.

“It’s a very strategic programme for government and therefore must be handled appropriately. We are where we are today because Sita could have done a better job initially. A billion rand down the line we had to go back to the starting blocks and having learnt the lessons from there thought want to do things differently and better.

ANC MP Nyami Booi said they became aware of the challenges facing IFMS in 2015 and tried to engage the Treasury to no avail.

“Today the taxpayers have lost R1-billion. How did we arrive at R1-billion? These are public funds and we want to hear about it. R1-billion is no peanuts. It's your money‚ my money‚ people's money. What is the problem‚ is there no political will?” asked Booi.

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DA MP Tim Brauteseth asked Treasury what they had to show for the R1-billion. “We had a situation where we spent over a billion rand and we discovered that we have a system that doesn’t work. Can I ask is there anyone in the room who was involved in the planning in 2005? Clearly your planning ability has failed woefully. What do we have in our hands for R1-billion? What have we got?” asked Brauteseth.

Director general Dondo Mogajane told the committee that no one directly involved in the project in 2005 was in the room.

“We spent one billion and this billion was spent on particularly two entities‚” said Mogajane.

He said Sita spent R280-million while Treasury spent the bulk at R769-million.

Finance minister Malusi Gigaba thanked MPs for their “robust” interaction.

Gigaba admitted “failures of internal controls” saying: “We need to give due credit to the internal audit executive and audit committee for their steadfastness and independence in raising these issues.”