The Unauthorised Expenditure Bill for spending that happened in the financial years between 2004 and 2014 in Gauteng Province was tabled this week by MEC for Finance, Barbara Creecy, at the Gauteng Provincial Legislature for consideration and deliberation.
She defined unauthorised expenditure as: “The overspending of a vote or a main division within a vote; or the expenditure incurred not in accordance with the purpose of a vote or not in accordance with the purpose of the main division of the vote.”
Under the leadership of Mbongeni Radebe, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) has over the past few months heard evidence on the reports of the Auditor General of South Africa on the financial statements of the Gauteng Provincial Government for the financial years between 2004 and 2014. SCOPA has the mandate to consider the circumstances that led to Unauthorised Expenditure being incurred and decide whether to recommend the expenditure for approval or not.
After careful deliberations SCOPA agreed to recommend, with funding, the total expenditure of R1,8 billion. SCOPA also recommended for approval, but without funding, the total expenditure of R8,9 million.
“However the Committee recommended that the total expenditure of R13,3 million not to be approved as the relevant departments failed to provide substantive reasons to ascertain the approval of the unauthorised expenditure,” said MEC Creecy.
The expenditure was incurred in the following departments: Education, Roads and Transport, Economic Development, Human Settlement, Infrastructure Development, Community Safety and Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation.
The main reasons advanced for the unauthorised expenditure were as follows:
a) Emergency Medical Services Transfers;
b) Overcrowding in hospitals;
c) Curriculum Implementation support;
d) Migration of learners to the Province;
e) Increase in the number of district offices;
f) Learning space for the early childhood development sector;
g) Funds for Gautrain that were not appropriated;
h) Subsidies for bus transport transferred from the North-West Province;
i) Debts which were written off; and
j) Increased personnel costs.
Creecy said it should be noted that the condoned unauthorised expenditure in the amount of R1,8 billion, incurred in the financial years in question would reduce the provincial surpluses accumulated from previous financial years and the equivalent amount would have to be taken as a direct charge against the Provincial Revenue Fund to clear the overdraft balances in the departmental bank accounts.
She said the unauthorised expenditure approved without funding of R8,9 million incurred in the 2011/2012 financial year and the unauthorised expenditure not approved of R13,3 million incurred in the 2008/2009 and 2011/2012 financial years will become the first charge against the allocated funds for the next or future financial years, under the relevant vote of each department.
It was emphasised that it was expected of all departments to meet the requirements of the Public Finance Management Act in their management of public resources.