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Limpopo cholera cost millions

Feb 28 2012 16:54
Sapa

Johannesburg - A cholera outbreak in Limpopo three years ago cost R39.5m, the provincial health department said in Polokwane on Tuesday.

Department head Daisy Mafobelo told the standing committee on public accounts that the expenditure was unavoidable as the outbreak was declared a disaster. Spending was therefore necessary to stop the outbreak that claimed 10 lives.

Of the total amount, R30m was unauthorised expenditure, according to the auditor general's report. The settlement of this had yet to be approved by the legislature.

Mafobelo said the amount was declared in the 2009/2010 financial year, in accordance with the Public Finance Management Act. The act regulates the spending models for government funds.

Committee chairperson Derrick Ngobeni said the department's answers on questions relating to irregular and wasteful expenditure left much to be desired.

"The department has not responded well to the questions raised, and on many other matters revealed by the auditor general, the head of department has been found wanting. The answers given were not satisfactory."

He said the department needed to present a plan to prevent the anomalies from recurring.

Ngobeni said as punishment for its failure to adequately answer to the AG's report, the department would have to pay for the recordings, catering and other expenses incurred by the legislature during the hearing.

The purpose of the committee's visit was to get government departments to achieve clean audits.

Only two of the province's nine departments had achieved this in the last financial year, namely agriculture and cooperative governance.

limpopo  |  cholera outbreak

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