Clean audits needed

Janine Myburgh, president, Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry

This means we are paying more for a deteriorating performance by the public service.

That is not acceptable.

The exception is the Western Cape with a performance far ahead of the rest of the country.

We achieved 83% of clean audits while Gauteng achieved 52%. All the other provinces were worse.

The Western Cape deserves our congratulations, but the question that has to be asked is: if the Western Cape can do it, why can’t the rest of the country?

According to Mr Makwetu’s report, departments are regressing rather than improving, and they are slow to implement, or totally disregard recommendations made by the auditor general.

The problem, as finance ministers Trevor Manuel and Pravin Gordhan have pointed out, is that there are no consequences for poor performance.

Maybe it is time that we made bonuses and 13th cheques conditional on departments getting clean audits.

That would certainly concentrate a few minds on the jobs they are supposed to be doing.

The unions will not like measures like that, but the alternative is the collapse of some state-owned enterprises and municipalities with a loss of many thousands of jobs.

We have seen how court orders making ministers personally responsible for the costs of pointless court cases have shaken up the system, so we need a similar mechanism to make managers personally responsible for some of the consequences of their poor performance. Sacrificing bonuses would be a good start.

The figures for fruitless and wasteful spending are truly frightening with an increase of 200% on the previous year.

Add irregular spending and the total is R7.5 billion, and this does not include some of the biggest SOEs where the situation is even worse.

Equally alarming is municipalities collecting money for electricity and using it for other purposes.

That is dishonest and it should be a punishable offence.