South Africa will not get rid of corruption until it gets rid of cadre deployment, which has resulted in a lack of skills within government entities and a lack of capacity to track financial flows.
This is feedback from Econometrix chief economist Dr Azar Jammine, who told Newzroom Afrika that government departments do not have the capacity to produce financial reports.
While the government has made progress with more municipalities and entities producing financial reports, 65% of state entities still do not have a clean audit.
“The Auditor-General is rightly very concerned about late submissions, particularly from large state-owned enterprises, which is very disturbing,” Jammine said.
Jammine explained that many government entities fail to produce financial reports and performance reports because they rely on hiring external consultants to put them together.
This is despite the fact that they employ people specifically for that purpose.
“Therein lies the problem,” Jammine said. “Until we get rid of cadre deployment, I do not think we will ever get rid of this problem in its entirety.”
The Auditor-General estimated that R22 billion will be lost to irregular and wasteful expenditure during the term ending next year.
“This speaks to a lack of planning and a lack of skills within these entities to actually abide by the rules,” Jammine said.
He said this is a significant weakness in South Africa, costing the country’s economy dearly as services are often not delivered, late or over budget.
“This arises from the fact that many people were put into positions of authority who were not properly trained and did not have the competence to occupy these positions.”
Furthermore, many competent people were retrenched to make space for less competent individuals because of their loyalty towards the ruling party.
“That is one of the huge fault lines that we have within governance in South Africa.”
“Unfortunately, it is also a process that has unravelled and is difficult to arrest given that it has almost got a momentum of its own now, with people relying on it to get what they want,” he said.
However, there is a glimmer of hope as the Auditor-General noted an improvement in the number of municipalities producing financial reports and clean audits.
“These improvements may indicate that we are starting to penetrate the vicious cycle of decline that we have been seeing,” Jammine said.