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Nie Cele

Three most busiest Gauteng’s Province departments Health, Social Development and Infrastructure Development have not done well in the past financial year when it comes to paying suppliers within 30 days! A special war room intervention is being implemented to correct that shortcoming.

This was a stern warning issued by Gauteng Finance and E Government MEC, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko during the tabling of her department 2022/23 budget vote speech at the Gauteng Legislature.

The MEC told the legislature through the Financial Governance business unit, they have continued to implement interventions to support departments, municipalities, and entities to improve management of their finances in accordance with rules and regulations.

She was quick to point out these efforts resulted in the provincial government in the 2020/21 financial year recording a total of 17 clean audits adding that Local government has also steadily improved financial management with the City of Ekurhuleni and Midvaal maintaining clean audits.

“However, we have realised that much work still need to be done across the Gauteng City Region to sustain improvements in public finance management to further cut waste, eliminate corruption and strengthen public accountability.”

Nkomo-Ralehoko also revealed she recently chaired the first meeting of the War Room on Clean Audits, 10 to 30 Day Payment and Transformative Procurement.

“This War Room has been established in compliance with the Exco Lekgotla resolution. It brings together Provincial Treasury, Gauteng Department of Cooperative Governance, Office of the Auditor-General, Audit Committees, National Departments, Academia, and private sector representatives with expertise on specialized areas such as legal, finance, ethics, supply chain and policy,” she explained.

The MEC also warned through this War Room, her department will unleash the collective knowledge and skills to address provincial government challenges in these four areas:

  • Litigation.
  • Consequence management.
  • Payment of invoices within 10 to 30 days
  • Transformative Procurement

“As part of the work of this War Room, Provincial Treasury is already working with departments who did not achieve good results in paying suppliers within 30 days in the previous financial year and these are Social Development, Health, and Infrastructure Development. We are intervening in these departments to resolve outstanding payments and ensure that going forward all our departments pay suppliers on time. This is important to support small business particularly township enterprises.

“In line with our commitment to public accountability, we will continuously report to this House progress that this War Room is making to bring about clean governance in the Gauteng City Region.

“In addition, Gauteng Audit Services (GAS) will conduct internal audits in accordance with approved risk-based plans. This will ensure that problematic areas are identified and addressed timeously to improve final audit outcomes. As part of our new organisational structure, we are in the process of enhancing the capacity of GAS to ensure that it achieves its objectives.”

She further revealed a total budget of R137 million and R134 million have been allocated to Financial Governance and Gauteng Audit Services respectively ‘ to implement their strategic priorities in this financial year.

“Honourable Members, to promote transparency, accountability, integrity, and public scrutiny regarding all decisions made on tenders, the Provincial Supply Chain Management business unit has continued facilitating the implementation of the Open Tender process. Since 2014, a total of 272 contracts valued at R34 billion have been awarded through the Open Tender process.

“Since April 2020, in line with Section 38 of the Public Finance Management Act which details the general responsibilities of Accounting Officers, Provincial Treasury has been engaged in a process of decentralising the Open Tender function to departments. To date, the function of managing Open Tender has been successfully handed over to 12 departments and entities.

“In response to Premier David Makhura’s call made during the State of the Province Address to strengthen fraud detection on contracts, Provincial Treasury has started a process to introduce compliance checks or mini probity audits on procurement transactions with thresholds of between R500 000 and R1 million using price quotation.  This will strengthen governance and contribute towards fighting fraud and corruption.

“Working with the Department of e-Government, we are making progress in tracking all the subcontracted contracts in the Gauteng Provincial Government. By the end of the 2021/22 financial year, a total of 243 companies were subcontracted to a total value of R1 billion, which was 26% of the total contracts value in the provincial government.

“To accelerate economic transformation, inclusion, and sustainability of emerging enterprises, we continue to register township businesses on the Central Supplier Database and train them on how to access opportunities in the public sector. We do this to ensure that government procurement is used to support market access and sustainability for substantial numbers of emerging enterprises owned by historically disadvantaged individuals, particularly those from the township economy,” she said.

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