Gauteng human settlements MEC Lebogang Maile is cleaning house, firing one senior manager and suspending two others.
Announcing his intervention plans to strengthen and turn the department around on Tuesday, Maile said the auditor-general’s (AG) disclaimer on the Gauteng department of human settlements was a huge setback to the province.
“The AG’s findings are a clear indicator of a lack of accountability and a failure to adhere to sound financial management prescripts within the department. The findings are an empowering instrument for us to act urgently and decisively to instil stricter measures, improve internal controls, provide credible financial statements and accurate reporting on service delivery and compliance-related matters.”
Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu, in his 2017/2018 financial year report, found that municipalities had regressed.
His findings included alleged corruption and fraud, violent service delivery protests, not paying for services, poor financial management and huge service delivery backlogs.
In August, Maile reported that nine out of 11 municipalities in the province were on the verge of being declared dysfunctional. He also established a committee to investigate allegations of fraud and corruption.
He has since fired the department’s director responsible for facilities, logistics, records and security management, citing gross negligence.
In his statement, Maile said two other senior officials – the deputy director-general for corporate management services and the acting chief financial officer – had been placed on precautionary suspension.
“All of these stern actions were taken as a direct result of the negative audit outcome and as part of introducing a culture of consequence management within the department.”
During his media briefing, Maile added that he had inherited a department where officials acted with “impunity” and seemingly didn’t account for their actions. He added that there was no consequence management and that there was almost a state of inertia on issues of compliance and sound management.
He said that the systematic, systemic changes he was implementing would form part of the structural realignment of the department.
Maile has appointed Phindile Mbanjwa as the new head of the department.
“We will be paying careful attention to all the recommendations of the auditor-general in order to improve the current situation, the 2019/20 audit outcomes and those going forward. The days of treating the AG’s recommendations as mere suggestions that will be noted, but not implemented with urgency and seriousness, are well and truly over.”