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Public Works Committee Wants Minister to Answer for Poor Performance of Public Works Entities

Parliament– The Portfolio Committee on Public Works wants the Minister of Public Works to answer for the poor performance of the entities of the Department of Public Works that are consistently qualified due to irregular expenditure that was identified in previous years, in particular, entities that have received irregular expenditure for four years consecutively.
The committee wants the Minister to take further action on the instability of these entities, as the committee believes that the concerns and recommendations that have been raised by members of this committee have not be taken seriously. The committee was briefed today by the Auditor-General on the financials of the department and its entities. The committee, however, wishes to congratulate and is very grateful for the example given by CBE for achieving a clean audit since 2017 to date. The committee notes that the Department of Public Works received an unqualified audit opinion too, but the committee strongly feels that the department has not done enough in the last four years in terms of giving proper guidance to three problematic entities.
The committee is not pleased at all that only one entity, out of the five entities under the department, received a clean audit. The committee believes that this is as a result of lack of consequence management in the department. The committee is particularly not pleased about the audit outcomes of Property Management Trading Entity (PMTE), the Independent Development Trust (IDT) and the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) for the financial year under review.
The committee heard today that the PMTE is unable to accurately account for the amounts owing to suppliers due to the documentation relating to services rendered for maintenance not being readily available. The entity has also incorrectly utilised the source data in determining the value of immovable assets, and it did not institute effective measures to ensure that the issue of incorrect payments being made to suppliers in respect of private leases was adequately resolved. The committee also heard that the status of the accounting records, systems and processes at IDT surrounding submission of information in support of programme reserves and liabilities and programmes, are not sufficient and appropriate.
The committee has noticed the instability at the top level of management of these three entities. Chief Executive Officers, Chief Operation Officers and other senior managers are constantly changed and not replaced for long periods of time in some instances. These are the people that must implement decisions and provide direction. This instability has greatly affected the performance of these entities because it has opened room for people to do as they please at these entities. It is clear from the continuation of these bad practices that these entities have not taken the committees’ concerns seriously in the past when it raised objections in the manner in which these entities were managed. The committee is looking forward to an engagement with the Minister and the department’s senior management in these issues.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa

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