GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS OWE MANDELA METRO MILLIONS

More than R123 million was owed to the Nelson Mandela Metro by its powers-that-be in the in the Provincial- and National government as at 31 August 2009. A whopping R4, 7 million of this amount is made up of interest.

The real shocker is that the amassed amounts include non-payment for normal day-to-day business such as the rental of buildings and office space by departments from the Metro. This is further exacerbated by the fact that this is not a matter of budget constraints – a reason which gets used repeatedly as a cop out to explain anything that goes wrong. National and Provincial Treasury has reportedly said there is enough money.

According to information requested by the Democratic Alliance from the Metro, the biggest provincial culprits are the Department of Education, owing R24, 919, 200 million in arrears (subs: this excludes the current accounts) Public Works owing R20, 994, 748 million, and Health being R 4,662,756 million in the red. At National level, the Department of Economic Development and Environmental Affairs has an outstanding debt to the Metro of R18, 999, 663 million.

This matter goes back beyond April of this year and the usual challenges of incapacity, miscommunication and lack of reconciling accounts are the excuses for the problem.

This is unacceptable and the officials in charge of payments to the Metro from these departments must explain why this disgraceful state of affairs has been allowed to get to this stage.

In view of the interest charged for outstanding late payment, a case of fruitless and wasteful expenditure must be noted with the Auditor General and the officials held liable to pay this money back in their personal capacities.

I will be raising this issue in the Bhisho Legislature and I have advised my colleague in Parliament to raise this issue at that level, in order to ensure that these outstanding amounts are paid without further excuses.

The consequences of non-payment can have serious problems in causing non-delivery of services, which yet again become the problem of the citizens: the people who voted this government into power at the last election in April 2009.

For further information, please contact Dacre Haddon, MPL on 0796943788