Pretoria: Cabinet has given the green light for ministers to begin a process of handing over the administration of some government departments in Limpopo to the Premier of that province and his executive.
In December 2011, Pretoria placed five departments – treasury, education, public works, transport and health – under administration following revelations of financial mismanagement and maladministration.
At the time, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan reported that Limpopo had a R2 billion shortfall and blamed the poor financial state on unauthorised expenditure, which grew from R1.5 billion in 2009 to R2.7 billion in 2011. An Inter-Ministerial Committee was established to help the province turnaround its financial woes.
Briefing reporters in Pretoria on Monday, Acting Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams said as of 31 July 2013, the province’s credit balance was at a positive R3.3 billion compared to an overdraft of R1.7 billion when it went under administration.
“Cabinet was apprised of what was found there… the province is off ICU. They (ministerial committee) are also saying that how do we ensure it doesn’t happen again. They have uncovered a lot of irregularities in procurement and that process is still happening,” said Williams.
She said having appreciated the corrective measures put in place in the five departments; Cabinet agreed that Limpopo Premier Stanley Mathabatha and his MEC would resume control of governance.
Mathabatha has reportedly said that the National Treasury’s intervention team has succeeded in rescuing the five departments.
Williams said Cabinet agreed that further investigations should continue on matters that seek to establish irregularities and where people were found to have flouted Treasury regulations.
“The other important thing is that the Treasury structure in Limpopo was also problematic, there were no proper procurement systems and those were the things the team put in place.”
The Ministerial Committee that has been handling the matter is expected to provide an update soon.