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Poor oversight led to Limpopo woes - union

Jan 20 2012 11:59 Sapa

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Johannesburg - Limpopo's potential shortfall of R2bn is a result of poor oversight and a lack of clear policy direction, the Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa) said on Friday.

"How can a province be facing a potential shortfall of R2bn before national government steps in? Fedusa cannot believe this blatant squandering of taxpayers' money," general secretary Dennis George said in a statement.

"Poor oversight and the lack of clear policy direction, as can be seen in the case of the Limpopo province... has led to diminishing services to the people and the economy as a whole."

On Thursday, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan briefed the media on cabinet's initial findings into the province's financial crisis.

At the end of last year it emerged that the province could not pay its civil servants and was broke.

This was because of its large accumulated unauthorised expenditure which had grown from R1.5bn in 2009 to R2.7bn in 2011, Gordhan said.

Five departments - finance, education, health and social development, public works, and education - are under complete control of the national government.

The remaining departments are operating under guidelines provided by the national government.

Gordhan said a forensic investigation into the shortfall would begin this week.

"As and when any evidence of breaking the law is revealed by the forensic investigation, the perpetrators will be charged, whether they are government employees or service providers, and we will have special courts, World Cup 2010 style, on standby," he said.

George said the public needed assurance that the people who caused the financial crisis would be reprimanded.

"(We) need to know exactly how this financial fiasco happened and, more importantly, taxpayers need to be assured that the perpetrators of bribery, corruption, maladministration and wasteful expenditure will be brought to book," he said.

"Fedusa urges government to cease its policy of cadre deployment and combat corruption in local, provincial, and national government so that the necessary services can be delivered to our people."

 
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