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The Auditor General has recently confirmed that the Free State Department of Police, Roads & Transport squandered R1.138 Billion, of which R96 million is unauthorised expenditure. (See report here) The poor state of roads in the Free State has been a central discussion theme of Free States Agriculture’s recent 2 week district level roadshow across the province. Free State Agriculture expresses their shock at how public money is being wasted, especially in the Free State.
“Basic services are not delivered and it is not because of limited recourses, but the administrative leadership’s inability to hold those accountable who steal, mismanage and waste public funds. They are responsible for threatening food security and job losses in the province.”, said Francois Wilken, President of Free State Agriculture.
There has been an increasing demand from members and supporters of Free State Agriculture, particularly during their resent district level meetings, to investigate how and where they can withhold taxes which are being clearly misappropriated and rather use these funds to do the work themselves where the state is clearly failing and providing jobs for the local population.
According to the Auditor General (AG) the Free State Department of Police, Roads and Transport serves as an example of the continued disregard for procurement prescripts, and was the highest contributor of irregular expenditure (R1 billion).
FSA, through our road representatives in the local Farmers Associations, have been extremely concerned and regularly report to the department the slow pace and quality of work being done on roads by select “panel of suppliers” for the repair and maintenance of roads.
The AG further stated that the culture of no consequences has been created through the political and administrative leadership’s inability to implement consequence management for the pervasive non-compliance with legislation. Thus, the environment was vulnerable to misappropriation, wastage and the abuse of state funds.
FSA urges the AG to act sooner rather than later on the promise that the AG will, where she feel there is no progress, invoke the instruments in the law, to ensure that there is appropriate and timely accountability. FSA will monitor this situation and if necessary write to the AG on these matters.