Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi says his department has successfully implemented the first phase of its turnaround strategy aimed at stabilising the department and improving its lease management.
The Minister said on Tuesday that the turnaround strategy had also improved the way his department conducted its business.
“In the first phase of the turnaround we have stabilised the department leading to improved lease management.
“We have developed and verified an Immovable Asset Register of state assets – important because this allows us to leverage this massive portfolio for development, job creation, empowerment and revenue generation to reduce costs of accommodation to government, whilst providing a tool for investigating fraudulent activity on state assets,” he said.
As of 31 March, Public Works has verified 99.1% of the assets in the immovable asset register.
The Minister also said that more efforts would be channelled towards reclaiming state-owned properties.
“The department is also re-launching Operation Bring Back to reclaim state properties that have been misappropriated or unlawfully occupied – drawing on unusual land and property transfers identified in the process of compiling the Immovable Asset Register. The message is clear: ‘You can run, but you can’t hide’.”
As part of its turnaround, the Minister said his department was introduced on its audit outcomes that were highlighted by the Auditor-General in previous audits.
This included the payment of invoices within 30 days, a challenge that President Jacob Zuma said should be prioritised as it affected the growth of the small businesses.
“We have greatly improved audit outcomes. Strengthened financial management also includes improved compliance with the requirement to pay creditors within 30 days of receipt of invoices – key to the financial health of small and emerging businesses.
“I should also mention that the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) – an entity of the department – is publishing draft regulations for public comment designed to encourage prompt payment of contractors whilst penalising late payment,” he said.
Officials nabbed for fraud, corruption
He also announced that 41 officials had been nabbed for fraud and corruption following a series of awareness campaigns and investigations conducted by the Special Investigative Unit (SIU).
In 2012, the Minister announced that the department’s turnaround strategy would be anchored on two pillars – jerking up the way that his department did business and rooting out fraud and corruption.
“The SIU recommended disciplinary action against 41 officials, of which three resigned, seven were dismissed – including Deputy Directors-General and Directors – seven received final written warnings and the rest are still in process,” he said.
The Minister said this and other interventions showed that the department had made a lot of progress in stabilising its internal controls.
“In my Budget Vote input I want to make a clear statement: that we have stabilised Public Works, and we are implementing the strategic vision and priorities that we outlined in the 2014 Budget Vote.” – SAnews.gov.za
Source : SAnews.gov.za