Roy Jankielsohn, Leader of the Official Opposition in the Free State Provincial Legislature
22 November 2018
The Free State Provincial Legislature has been plunged into darkness for the second day due to non-payment of electricity. The landlord of the Southern Life Building in Bloemfontein, whose largest tenant is the Free State legislature, has failed to pay Mangaung’s electricity supply entity Centlec causing them to cut off the electricity.
The building was bought two years ago by Robs Property Investments owned by convicted fraudster and a Magashule associate Mr Blacky Seoe. The contract between the Legislature and Robs Property Investments has been questioned by the Auditor-General for not complying with supply chain management procedures.
Robs Property Investments is involved in various property deals with the provincial government and the controversial Free State Development Corporation (FDC). Blacky Seoe was at one stage chairperson of the FDC and was identified on video footage with former Free State Premier Ace Magahsule during a visit to a site in QwaQwa that allegedly involved a property deal between the FDC and Magshule’s daughter.
The electricity disruption affects most of the administrative and political party staff at the Free State Legislature. Staff are unable to get to work or work in darkness in the seven floor building. It appears that, while tenants are paying electricity to the landlord, he has not been paying this over to Centlec. This can be expected when deals are made with fraudsters.
The DA has questioned the disruptions of work at the legislature due to lifts and air conditioners not working in the Rules and Orders Committee. DA party staff also lodged a complaint about these issues with the Department of Labour. Last week the two floors of basement parking were flooded with sewerage water.
The DA will request the management of the legislature, at the next meeting of this committee, to put out a tender for alternative office space and cancel the lease with the current landlord.
AG Report: Free State is the worst performing province
Patricia Kopane, DA Free State Premier Candidate – 22 November 2018
The Auditor-General’s presentation in Parliament this morning confirms that the Free State is in a complete financial crisis. No auditee in the province received a clean audit. Over a four-year period, the province’s audit outcomes have significantly regressed. The regression continued from the previous year to the current year. The lack of improvement in accountability for government spending led to the significant regression in audit outcomes.
Out of the audited entities in Free State:
8 got unqualified with findings
5 qualified with findings
3 disclaimed with findings
1 adverse with findings
The premier’s office and Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation regressed from qualified audit opinions to disclaimed opinions. Agriculture and Rural Development moved from an adverse opinion to a disclaimed opinion. The deteriorating audit outcomes could be attributed to the leadership’s continued disregard for internal controls and the monitoring thereof.
Irregular expenditure amounts to R3 860 billion, unauthorised expenditure is R513 million and the fruitless and wasteful expenditure is at R16 million.
The following Free State’s Departments are in the top 10 of contributors in unauthorised expenditure:
Police, Roads and Transport by R241 million with R169 million being money that was not spent in accordance with the purpose of the budget and the remainder related to overspending on programmes. Health with R141 million due to overspending accrued across various programmes Education with R130 million this is due to overspending related to compensation of employees due to the insufficient budget allocation and budget cuts to fund other programmes.
The AG’s report says the provincial health department as in a vulnerable position and he singled out singled out “lack of accountability and commitment towards clean administration” as factors that influenced the poor showing of these provinces. Free State’s audit outcomes continue to worsen with disclaimed and adverse opinions. Delays in the completion of projects, poor quality work and payments without evidence of delivery results in poor service delivery and allegations of fraud. The oversight structures are not proactive, which hinders the effecting of consequences as members of the executive council are not held to account”.
A culture of no consequences has been created through the leadership’s involvement in the decision-making that led to transgressions. Where the DA governs financial management is prioritised. The DA in the Western Cape has achieved great results which shows that where the DA governs, money meant for the people, is spent on those who need it the most. Regular monitoring and evaluation of the province’s plans and the uncompromising approach to corruption and wasteful spending of taxpayers’ monies by the DA-led provincial administration. This is the kind of governance that the Free State people deserve, a DA-led government.