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R24-billion of provincial health department expenditure, between 2009 and 2013, was irregular – COPE

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LACK OF POLITICAL WILL RUINING HEALTH CARE & SOUTH AFRICA

The Times of today reports that three researchers, Professor Laeticia Rispel, head of the Wits School of Public Health, Professor Sharon Fonn and Pieter de Jager discovered that R24-billion of provincial health department expenditure, between 2009 and 2013, was irregular.

Politics lies at the heart of the problem. Politics weighs against strong, ethical and effective management. Most people who are in government service feel disempowered because of politics. Political connections hold sway. Closing of ranks is the norm. Dissenters have no place. The Auditor General has repeatedly called for consequences for irregular expenditure but politicians dare not act against influential ruling party cadres. The appeasement of cadres is costing South Africa dearly. Economically it is bringing South Africa to its knees.

Confidence in our country is ebbing away. Capital is flowing out of the country.

The researchers concluded that without political will, corruption will remain rampant.

In most countries of the world, voters hold the destiny of their country in their own hands. Politicians do not easily fool them. They make their votes count.

In South Africa, voters choose not to hold the whip hand. If voters showed political will, politicians will follow suit. At present cadres call the shot. Good management is therefore permanently in the casualty ward. There is also an extensive management deficit in our country to the detriment of the people and the country. This remains uncorrected.

COPE will not tolerate any transgression of the Public Finance Management Act. Our country is only one tiny step away from a financial crisis. The rating agencies are monitoring government very closely. A permissive attitude to poor governance, irregular expenditure and corruption will hurt and damage us considerably for years to come.

Let us demand clear answers and a proper a explanation from the government for countenancing irregular expenditure in health care and throughout the government establishment, year after year.

Issued by Dennis Bloem on behalf of COPE, Dennis Bloem is COPE’s national spokesperson

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