Photograph by: Michael Bratt
THE government would ensure that the administrative functions of the Limpopo provincial government, which were taken over by national departments in December last year, would be returned to the province "as soon as possible", Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Wednesday.
The national government’s exit strategy from the province was already being implemented, "with critical capacity being established for the purposes of budget management, infrastructure management and supply chain management", the minister said in a written reply to a question in Parliament by Congress of the People MP Nick Koornhof.
Deputy Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene led a team of deputy ministers from five departments to investigate maladministration, poor financial management and lack of service delivery in Limpopo. The report was commissioned by President Jacob Zuma and was submitted to him about two weeks ago.
Mr Zuma said in the National Assembly last week that he would indicate what action would be taken on the report "in due course".
The national government intervened in Limpopo after the province asked for government approval for an additional overdraft last November to pay salaries and debtors.
Mr Gordhan said although the Treasury was providing the primary co-ordination for the intervention in Limpopo, each national Cabinet member and the relevant department assigned to play an administrative role would have to determine whether the specific service delivery shortcomings that led to the initial intervention had been sufficiently addressed.
"It must be noted that project plans for the turnaround of every department were initially drafted in co-operation with the government of Limpopo. We are continuously monitoring progress in each area in order to reach a decision on the specific date for the termination of the intervention," Mr Gordhan said.
He said the first priority when the national team moved in was to stabilise Limpopo’s cash position and then to rebuild capacity, which was a longer-term process.
Replying to a separate question by Mr Koornhof on the steps being taken to ensure better expenditure patterns by local government, Mr Gordhan said the responsibility to ensure better and correct spending patterns in local government was spread among the various spheres of government and government departments.
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