ROAD Agency Limpopo (RAL) has recorded an irregular expenditure of almost R1,6 billion, but ANC members of the provincial legislature (MPLs) remain steadfast that the entity was heading in the right direction.
During a debate on the Scopa Committee and Auditor-General’s reports for the 2015/16 financial year, ANC MPLs came in the defence of the entity, arguing that it has since moved from an adverse audit opinion to a qualified one.
However, opposition MPLs were critical of the entity, describing it as “an entity that has no good story to tell”.
EFF MPL Matome Machaka pointed out the entity had failed to adhere to plans to steer it in the right direction: “Implementation of audit plans to clear audit findings have not been implemented. Lack of capacity in relation to project management also derails service delivery in the province. It is disappointing that this entity does not take health and safety of our people seriously. There is no good story to tell in this entity.” Machaka also claimed that poor people were not being taken seriously. He said only eight workers out of the target of 100 were trained in the first quarter.
“This is madness considering the fact that there is a gap in addressing skills shortage. The retention of engineers to assist in service delivery is a huge challenge in the entity. We have also noted that the training of local workers commenced in the third quarter for some projects but for most of the projects, the training has not commenced.”
DA’s Langa Bodlane said the irregular expenditure of almost R1,6billion was a sign of things getting worse: “The committee was lied to and assured that there was a process in place to validate procurement processes.
“This must not be left unattended as it amounts to serious criminality. We are not satisfied that irregular expenditure in regard to so-called Bermuda roads will just be condoned by the board.
“This leaves a very wide gap of possible concealment. If the board was playing its fiduciary duties properly, the irregular expenditure amounting to over a billion rand would not have occurred under its watch.”
But ANC MPL Rudolph Phala indicated that the entity was “slowly but surely returning to its glory from the time it was brutally slaughtered in the era of On-Point Engineering Services before the collapse of the provincial government in 2011.”
“When you listen to other members, you will think they are talking about another entity. RAL is turning the corner,” Phala said. He was supported by ANC MPL Mirriam Ramadwa who said there was improvement in the work by the entity.
Public Works, Roads and Infrastructure MEC Jerry Ndou said 50% of the irregular expenditure at the entity was investigated and the report was presented to board and “we are happy that it has been forwarded to National Treasury for them to assist us on what we need to do.”
“We will continue investigating the rest so that we are able to deal with those that have caused that irregular expenditure,” Ndou said.