THE Eastern Cape government awarded tenders worth more than R113-million to officials and their relatives in the 2011-12 financial year.
The provincial departments, which have regressed from previous audit outcomes, were also unable to account for 213 contracts valued at more than R851-million.
This was revealed by national auditor-general Terrence Nombembe in presenting his latest reports.
Nombembe said, based on the previous year's commitments, there had been an expectation of improvement towards a clean administration for the Eastern Cape, but there had been a regression instead.
The latest report reveals that:
- 213 contracts – 77 from provincial education, 78 from health and 58 from the roads and public works departments – with a combined value of R851-million could not be accounted for as documentation could not be provided for auditing;
- 211 tenders, amounting to more than R26-million, were awarded to government employees, with more than R19-million of that amount raked in by 37 roads and public works employees;
- More than 290 tenders worth R30-million and 304 contracts, also worth more than R30-million, were awarded to officials and suppliers who did not declare their interests, as required by legislation;
- A further 18 contracts worth R19-million in total were cited as remuneration to employees for work that was never approved.
"This blatant disregard of the supply chain management legislative framework has an impact on all spheres of service delivery in the province," Nombembe warned.
He welcomed Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu's recently announced move to amend the Public Service Act to ban public servants from doing business with government and benefiting from state contracts.
Nombembe said only 117 (22%) of the 536 government institutions he had evaluated across the entire country had achieved clean audits, none of them in the Eastern Cape.
The province also blew R2.5-billion in irregular expenditure, R306million in unauthorised expenditure, and R158-million in wasteful expenditure in the year under review.
Overall, "the outcomes of the province have remained stagnant, which is of great concern.
"With only one improvement and three regressions, it is evident that the commitments made by the provincial leadership during the 2010-11 roadshow of the AG have not been fulfilled."