AfriForum laid a charge of corruption against former Department of Health Head of Department (HOD) Ntsie Kgaphole at the Polokwane Police Station on Tuesday.
The organisation’s Head of Community Structures for the northern region, Marié Naudé said the decision to press criminal charges against Kgaphole, who reportedly retired last year, was due to the fact that he was guilty of offences in terms of Section 86 of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) after the department incurred over R170 million in irregular expenditures when he was still the HOD in the 2017/18 financial year.
Naudé indicated that the department’s annual report highlighted that irregular expenditure amounting to almost R166 million and fruitless and wasteful expenditure to the tune of over R3,5 million was incurred in 2017/18. Irregular expenditure comprises all expenses that are inconsistent with what the Act prescribes, she explained and added that fruitless and wasteful expenditures are expenses made in vain and could have been prevented if reasonable precaution had been taken. Naudé went on to claim that this excessive expenditure could have been prevented had Kgaphole fulfilled his duties.
“The exercise formed part of AfriForum’s national campaign against the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill. The organisation will visit all nine provinces to open criminal cases against the heads of each provincial Department of Health. The charges against them are based on alleged financial misappropriation in terms of the above-mentioned act. They must prevent irregular, fruitless, wasteful and unauthorised expenditure and must hold guilty parties accountable. The HODs are letting taxpayers down by failing to fulfil their duties,” Naudé stressed.
She reiterated that the squandering of taxpayers’ money was a national crisis and the responsible parties should be brought to book. She added that the misappropriation of funds was one of the main reasons why they cannot rely on government to implement the NHI. Naudé further claimed that government has shown that it cannot be trusted with taxpayers’ money.
A copy of the report dated 30 May 2018 and containing the signatures of both Kgaphole and Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba was made available to Polokwane Observer. In the document the Office of the Auditor-General (AG) in Limpopo highlighted that the department had received a qualified audit opinion for 2017/18. It further read that a significant number of assets belonging to the department had not been included in the underlying accounting records. As the department did not maintain an adequate system of recording assets, the AG was unable to confirm the assets by alternative means.
In the report the AG wrote: “I was unable to determine the full extent of the understatement of movable tangible capital assets stated at
R2 157 477 000 as it was impractical to do so. The department did not have an adequate internal control system in place for recording assets at correct amounts, as I identified variances on the valuation of assets. Consequently, movable tangible capital assets were overstated by
R831 406 913. Capital work-in-progress was overstated by R386 519 856 and goods and services understated by R22 575 607.”
Payables of R523 335 000 exceeded the payment term of 30 days as required by treasury regulation, the AG reported and added that the amount, in turn, exceeded R218 862 000 of voted funds to be surrendered by R304 473 000 as per the statement of financial performance. The AG further stated that an amount of R304 473 000 would, therefore, have constituted unauthorised expenditure had the amounts due been paid in time. The department made an impairment on accrued departmental revenue of R445 200 000 as a result of an inadequate collection system, the AG concluded.
When approached for comment departmental spokesperson Neil Shikwambana indicated that he was not aware of the case and went on to highlight that Kgaphole had retired last year and was replaced by current HOD, Thokozani Mhlongo. Provincial Police Communications Head Motlafela Mojapelo confirmed that a case of corruption was opened and has been transferred to the Provincial Organised Crime Unit for further investigation and that no arrests have been made in the case yet. All attempts to get Kgophole’s contact details had failed by the time of going to press.
Story: ENDY SENYATSI