“What is more, the department of environment, forestry and fisheries has not submitted its exception reports to National Treasury for the whole of the 2020/21 financial year. This is despite the PSC consistently highlighting its concern in this regard, suggesting that the … department is not taking the advice of the PSC as a constitutional body seriously. 

“The constitutional values and principles require the public service to uphold accountability at all times and where there is a lack of adherence, consequence steps must be taken in line with the PFMA.”  

A provincial breakdown of non-payment of suppliers as of March revealed the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, the North West, Mpumalanga and Gauteng as the worst culprits and repeat defaulters. 

The Eastern Cape failed to settle 64,711 invoices between January and March, worth more than R7bn combined.  

“The PSC wants to express its concern regarding the significant increases in the Eastern Cape for both the numbers of invoices and the related cost,” said Seloane. 

“The failure by government departments to honour their financial obligations to suppliers has brought untold harm to the economy of our country, with many suppliers having to close down as a result of lack of cash flow, as previously highlighted by the PSC.”

Corruption 

The commission said it recorded 872 cases of alleged corruption in the fourth quarter of the 2020/21 financial year. This was a decrease compared to 1,591 cases recorded in the previous year. These ranged from bribery and fraud to unethical behaviour and the smuggling of illegal substances, across various departments. 

Seloane attributed the reduction to the national lockdown as a result of Covid-19. 

The commission said it had observed that departments took extended periods of time to provide feedback on progress made on the investigations. It also noted there was hesitation in approaching fraud and corruption in a holistic manner and many departments were not committed to ethics governance.  

“Therefore there is a need to realign the functions of the anti-corruption units within the departments to ensure prevention and detection is included in the holistic approach to managing the risk of fraud and corruption. 

“Corruption has been a constant feature in the South African public service for decades. Efforts to root out corruption may take time before it’s defeated.”

TimesLIVE

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