Govt clamps down on profligate provinces

2011-12-06 09:50

Johannesburg - Central government took direct control of parts of several provincial administrations on Monday in a clampdown on profligate spending, and to try to iron out long-running problems with shoddy public services.

A cabinet statement said Pretoria had assumed authority over nearly every area of administration in troubled Limpopo province after it asked for a R1bn overdraft to pay civil servants' salaries.

Limpopo, the home of controversial ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema, has been plagued by allegations of mismanagement and corruption, especially in the award of government contracts.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, who is under pressure to keep public spending in check, said his department had been concerned for several months about "financial management and the potential for overspending".

"We owe it to taxpayers of this country to ensure that their money is spent well and that there will be proper returns," he told Talk Radio 702.

Under the terms of the takeover, the central government will assume direct control of Limpopo's finances, as well as the education, transport, health and public works departments.

It will investigate alleged corruption and maladministration, Gordhan said.

Pretoria has also stepped in to oversee the finances and police and transport sections of the Free State, and will help sort out a funding crisis in Johannesburg's health sector.

Since the end of apartheid in 1994, the ANC government has spent billions of dollars to improve public services for the millions of blacks largely ignored under white-minority rule.

However, its efforts have been hampered by corruption and a lack of qualified officials at the provincial and municipal levels - especially since many bureaucrats were replaced after the 1994 election that brought the ANC to power.

Last month Moody's cut its outlook for South Africa's A3 credit rating, voicing concern that pressure from unions and black voters wanting greater economic redress for the ills of apartheid would put pressure on the budget.

In October's long-term budget outlook, the Treasury said the deficit this year would be higher than previously forecast, at 5.5% of gross domestic product. 

  • Musa Ngubane - 2011-12-06 10:53

    Good decision by Cabinet. National government can't just observe provinces struggling. Things must be changed to speed up service delivery. It is just sad that you have MEC's who decide to deny what is actually clear. A positive move by Cabinet.

  • Not Black - 2011-12-06 10:55

    Voting Together to Making a Better Future..... A future of Bankrupcy and financial Mismanagement. Pravin Gordhon & the "so Called Planning Committee" must address the REAL ISSUE here - one of INCOMPETENCY and USELESS MANAGEMENT SKILLS. The Gauteng Province is seeking a R1 Billion lifeline from Central Govt to just meet the Salary Bill for Nov/Dec. THIS IS A DIRECT REFLECTION ON THE INCOMPETENCE OF THE GAUTENG PREMIER. SHE SHOULD BE SACKED ASAP as all this has culminated under her Leadership. I REST MY CASE

      Thabang - 2011-12-06 13:03

      I think you should get your facts straight and stop blowing hot air..Firstly, its not Gauteng whose asking for the R 1 billion its Limpopo and secondly the Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency was set up to seek out incompetent and useless officials. Next time just be a bit weary of your surroundings...and b4 I rest my case...FYI..Gauteng has for the first time toppled the Western Cape as South Africa's most productive province for 2011. So I guess there's a future after all

  • Faith - 2011-12-08 19:06


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