Gauteng government loses R6m after making transfer in dollars not rand

‘Provincial treasury erroneously processed an amount of $20.9m and not the rand value as per e-gov payment advice,’ MEC reveals

06 July 2021 - 15:46
Gauteng MEC for finance and e-government Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko has revealed that her department lost more than R6m after processing a payment in dollars instead of rands. File photo.
Gauteng MEC for finance and e-government Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko has revealed that her department lost more than R6m after processing a payment in dollars instead of rands. File photo.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

The Gauteng government has lost more than R6m after an official erroneously processed a payment in dollars instead of rand.

The DA in Gauteng has called for stronger action to be taken against the official behind the erroneous transaction.

DA Gauteng shadow MEC for finance and e-government (e-gov), Adriana Randall, revealed the provincial department shockingly paid $20m instead of R20m to Microsoft Ireland in error.

Randall said she received the information from finance and e-government MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, who was responding to questions posed in the legislature.

TimesLIVE has seen Nkomo-Ralehoko’s responses.

In her explanation, the MEC said the department prepared a payment advice document for the payment of Microsoft fees amounting to more than R20m.

The amount was successfully recalled ... resulting in a shortfall of R6,843,737.90 because of the exchange rate.
MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko

“The department submitted the payment advice to provincial treasury, cash book and  banking services for processing. Provincial treasury erroneously processed an amount of $20,913 793.81 and not the rand value as per e-gov payment advice. This resulted in a debit amount of R318,307,941.79 into the e-gov bank account.

“The department requested that Gauteng provincial treasury (GPT) recall the full amount of R318,307,941.79 from Microsoft. The amount was successfully recalled on February 5 2021, with an amount of R311,464,203.81, resulting in a shortfall of R6,843,737.90 because of the exchange rate,” MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko said.

The MEC said the provincial treasury has instituted an investigation.

Randall said the lost millions could have bought about 48,046 Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines, which were last priced at $10 (R142.44) per dose, according to the minister of health in April.

She said while the DA welcomes the investigation into the forex transaction, they believe stronger action should have been taken. The party believes the official responsible should be suspended immediately and the money recouped from the official.

“Consequence management is the only way in which errors like these will not happen, and will send a strong message to any government official involved in negligence seen at the e-government department,” said Randall.

She vowed the DA would not rest until the money is recovered and the implicated officials are charged.

“Serious negligence deserves serious consequences, especially when lost money could have been used to save lives and livelihoods,” Randall said.

TimesLIVE has approached the Gauteng finance department for comment. This story will be updated with their response once received.

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