Limpopo ANC downplays R2bn financial crisis

Limpopo is not in a financial crisis, the provincial ANC said on Friday.

“We are not in financial crisis, we are just having financial challenges,” provincial secretary Soviet Lekganyane told reporters in Polokwane.

He was briefing reporters after a national intervention team indicated the province faced a shortfall of R2-billion at the end of the financial year.

On Thursday, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said in Polokwane that the team had discovered improper financial management in the province.

Gordhan and five ministers put five provincial departments under administration last year.

Lekganyane said: “The minister of finance points to irregularities and unauthorised expenditure in some departments without comparison. The auditor general has indicated that an amount to the tune of R21-million has been lost nationally due to that irregularity.

‘With pain’
“The country and the people of this province may want to be informed as to the proportion due to Limpopo and which other provinces and national government find themselves in similar circumstances as Limpopo.”

The ANC in the province had learned “with pain” of service providers who had not been paid for services rendered, especially in December 2011. Due to this families went without Christmas food, clothes for the New Year as well as school uniforms and books for the new academic year.

Gordhan said on Thursday that all service providers with the correct documentation would be paid.

Lekganyane claimed the provincial treasury had received written instruction not to pay any service providers.

Referring to a forensic investigation into the province’s finances, which began this week, Lekganyane said: “If all of us are genuinely concerned about the fight against corruption we cannot be selective about the period of investigation.
We need to go into a thorough investigation about the causes of the overdraft dating back to 1999.”

The party welcomed the investigation into asset management in the province. Lekganyane said office accommodation for state departments, incomplete and abandoned projects such as housing, disposal of government-owned properties and awarding of mineral rights should be covered by the probe.

‘Conflicting messages’
Lekganyane further expressed displeasure at Gordhan, saying that special courts were on standby in case of any crimes being uncovered.

He said the party in the province was disappointed by what he said were officials at national and provincial government levels not communicating with their constituencies with consistency.

“At times this action sends conflicting messages to the people of the province and has the potential to pit leadership at both national and provincial levels against one another.

“We will never have any deployee of the ANC in the province talking about this matter anymore, until as the leadership, we have directed how the matter must be handled.”

Lekganyane said the ANC in Limpopo would cooperate with all levels of government to provide services to the province’s people.—Sapa

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