The Water and Sanitation Acting Director-General, Mbulelo Tshangana has committed to work with his team to clean up the Department through the effective implementation of the Financial Recovery Plan.The Department’s Financial Recovery Plan has already received thumbs up from Minister Lindiwe Sisulu. The plan seeks to stabilise the Department, its Water Boards and decisively deal with all the officials found to have transgressed and flouted the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). This comes as the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation last week welcomed the Department’s unqualified audit outcome from the Auditor-General for the 2018/19 financial year. Acting DG Tshangana emphasised that all these efforts are in line with Minister’s Sisulu’s commitments during her maiden Budget Vote speech in July last year. “Minister Sisulu promised to root out corruption and turn around the Department and its Water Entities. We are applying consequence management so that we recover all the monies that we lost due to the flouting of processes by officials”, he said. Tshangana emphasised that the 2018/19 audit outcomes reflected significant improvements and this was achieved through focused implementation of remedial actions and the execution of consequence management.
During a virtual sitting of the Committee last week, Acting DG Tshangana expressed that the financial health of the water and sanitation sector is challenged by a number of internal and external factors.“Some the challenges we face include the negative financial outlook such as incidents of unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure,” Tshangana said. He added that Intervention Programmes such as at the Vaal, which are often as a result of poorly operated and maintained Waste Water Treatment Works (WWTW) have impacted negatively on the finances of the Department. Priority interventions areas of the Plan include funding and budget management which will entail the implementation of debt collection, a revenue enhancement strategy and a zero tolerance stance on overdraft. Tshangana also said expenditure control, financial governance and accountability would form part of the Financial Recovery Plan. “We are going to be implementing the accruals and payables management plan. What we will also be doing is to ensure we keep in check the fruitless and wasteful expenditure remedial measures report,” he said. The Portfolio Committee also heard that a comprehensive reconciliation of assets and liabilities to enable maintenance of proper accounting records for management and reporting purposes was going to be implemented. Minister Sisulu has since issued a directive that the Plan be implemented with urgency in order to turn the Department around so as to improve and enhance the delivery of services to the public.