AG raises red flags over provincial depts’ state of finances

CAPE TOWN – The provincial departments of Health, Education and Public Works need urgent intervention to prevent their collapse.That’s one of the findings in Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu’s consolidated report on national and provincial audit outcomes for the past financial year, which he released at Parliament on Wednesday.The departments account for just over half of all provincial budgets and are responsible for key programmes aimed at improving the health and welfare of citizens.Makwetu’s report says these departments were in “a bad state”.Provincial Education departments have racked up unauthorised expenditure of almost R1 billion, while the Eastern Cape department has a deficit of R1.7 billion.Makwetu’s report says the Free State department is especially vulnerable, having already spent 78% of its operating budget for this year during the financial year that just passed.But the Auditor-General says provincial Health departments are in an even worse state.“Many have painted a picture where they are quite vulnerable in terms of their sustainable finances. Among them would be the health portfolio in the Eastern Cape, in the Free State as well as the Northern Cape.”Health departments have a total deficit of R8.4 billion. Apart from the Western Cape and the Free State, all face claims that eclipse their total operating budgets, with the Eastern Cape facing claims amounting to more than three times its operating budget.(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)Source: EWN

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