Shock findings from the Auditor-General (AG) today show that the Eastern Cape government had modified audit opinions (qualified and disclaimer) for 83% of the entire provincial budget for the 2011/12 financial year.

The monetary value of all the instances where the AG expressed a qualified or disclaimer opinion on provincial finances totals R44 billion of the R53 billion budget in 2011/12. These figures are contained in a presentation by the AG to the Eastern Cape legislature today.

The Democratic Alliance views these findings as a damning indictment on the accountability and leadership being provided in government by the incumbent ANC. The financial management crisis in the Eastern Cape is a betrayal of the hopes and aspirations of the people of this province for a better life for themselves and their children. It is clear that without wide-ranging intervention, the governance crisis in the Eastern Cape will continue unabated. The poor and unemployed in this province will continue to be the worst affected.

To improve accountability in the province, performance management needs to be vigorously enforced. The Public Finance Management Act and other legislation need to be invoked. Currently 93% of departments don’t comply with laws and regulations, the AG has found. The AG has also found that 27% of the negative findings relating to supply chain management were due to contracts being awarded to government employees. A further 5% of the findings relate to contracts being awarded to close family, and 65% due to uncompetitive or unlawful bidding processes. Last year, this amounted to almost a billion Rand. This crisis is fuelling the winds of change which have been steadily blowing through the province as election results like the recent Nelson Mandela University SRC Elections show.

The DA will continue to work towards change in the Eastern Cape on behalf of all people so we can build a province of opportunity for all.