Public Works's Jeremy Cronin says his department has irregularly spent R3.65-billion, with a large sum of it resulting from irregular lease contracts.
The troubled public works department has racked up R3.65-billion in irregular spending since 2009, Public Works Deputy Minister Jeremy Cronin revealed on Wednesday.
"What we are reporting is R3.6-billion [that] appeared to be irregular expenditure, problematic expenditures, out of 40 000 transactions that were identified over the period from 2009 to March 2013," Cronin said after briefing Parliament's public accounts watchdog committee, Scopa.
"So, an enormous set of problems which we are not proud of obviously," he said.
Cronin said the department arrived at the sum, which he termed "immense", after spending months trawling through 930 000 transactions.
He said a large share of the sum resulted from irregular lease contracts – including the department's notorious contracts with empowerment mogul Roux Shabangu – but also noted smaller examples, such as renting wine glasses for the presidential guest house at R200 each.
Rebuilding the department
Meanwhile, Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi told journalists in May that they were making real progress in tackling the immediate and systemic challenges and have put in place building blocks to rebuild the department.
He revealed that 23 of the 40 investigations by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) on irregular leases and projects have been completed and this has resulted in successful disciplinary actions, dismissal of six officials including a deputy director general and court actions to recover monies wrongly paid by the department.
Nxesi said they were awaiting reports from a disciplinary hearing involving one deputy director general and one chief director.
The SIU has also completed investigations into the Prestige projects in Pretoria, relating to renovations of ministerial houses and have recommended that officials involved be disciplined.
"We have now extended the investigation to Cape Town where approximately R100-million was spent on renovating 11 ministerial houses," said Nxesi. – additional reporting by Andisiwe Makinana.