AUDITOR-GENERAL Terence Nombembe yesterday said only eight out of 40 national government departments are responsible for the lion’s share of the R33.5-billion spent on consultants from 2009 to 2011.
The departments are those of defence, police, health, transport, correctional services, environmental affairs, rural development, and water affairs. The audit covered 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11.
The auditor-general could not show any correlation between the spending on consultants and vacancy rates at any of the departments.
This was contained in a closed briefing before parliament’s standing committee on public accounts yesterday.
Committee chairman Themba Godi said the full discussion would emerge once the departments had been called to explain themselves in open meetings.
The auditor-general said the Department of Defence spent the most over the three-year period, at R10.44-billion, or 31% of the national total spent on consultants.
The second biggest spender was the Department of Water Affairs, at R4.26-billion, or 13% of the total. SAPS was third, spending R4.04-billion, or 12% of the total, followed by the Department of Correctional Services with R2.04-billion.
The Department of Transport spent R1.86-billion on consultants, followed by the Department of Rural Development (R1-billion), the Department of Environmental Affairs (R551-million) and the Department of Health (R416-million).
The remaining 32 government departments spent a total of R8.89-billion, or 26% of the total over the three-year period.
Godi said he was concerned that there was a low staff vacancy rate among most of the big spenders.
The big spenders – defence, police and correctional services – had vacancy rates of 10.6%, 0.9% and 14% respectively.