The Department of Transport, fails to pay almost 800 businesses on time

Issued by Thamsanqa Bhekokwakhe Mabhena – DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Transport
01 Jun 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Thamsanqa Mabhena MP.

The Portfolio Committee on Transport (PCoT), Tuesday May 30, 2023, was horrified to learn that the ANC-led government through the Department of Transport (DoT), is killing small micro-medium enterprises (SMME), by failing to pay almost 800 SMME’s on time. The Deputy Minister of Transport Lisa Mangcu MP, admitted that his department could not pay these invoices within the Treasury stipulated and cabinet endorsed 30 days.

Seven hundred and ninety-three (793) invoices were paid late during the period under review: with five hundred and ninety-three (593) during Quarter Four of 2022/23. Of these, five hundred and thirty-three (533) invoices were processed late due to the unavailability of the BAS system. What is perhaps more infuriating and concerning is that one hundred and ninety-two (192) of these invoices were paid late due to the unavailability of a delegated official to sign-off on the invoices. This is just pure negligence and dereliction of duty at the highest level.

Furthermore, twenty (20) invoices were late due to the slow system. Forty-three (43) invoices were not paid as a result of the unavailability of a LOGIS authoriser, again unacceptable behaviour.

Essentially one official from the department may be responsible for threatening almost 200 businesses, all because of ineptitude and incompetence. This is definitely not a reflection on the said official however, it is a true reflection on the leadership of the department, both political and administrative. A further confirmation that the department is struggling and is running a chaotic operation, with no end in sight. The Director General, Adv. Mlawu, as the accounting officer and head of administration, must urgently take corrective measures and hold accountable the non-performers.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy, cashflow is the fuel that keeps them afloat. Having met the service level agreement and delivered their commitments to the department, the department could not honour their end of the deal. Given the state of our economy, and the unemployment rate at about 42%, the department is simply a threat to the economy instead of being a catalyst to encouraging entrepreneurship.

Other issues identified in the report, which further shines the spotlight on the relaxed approach to management by Departmental leadership, is the fact that the ethics risk assessment found that, the department has a challenge of officials at supply-chain management system (SMS) not disclosing their financial interests. As well as departmental staff that are prone to late coming and knocking off early without consequences.

The DA is giving the Department 30 days, to come back and comprehensively brief the PCoT, on the corrective measures as well as firm consequence management. Failure to do so, we will be taking the following measures.

Writing to the Presidency:

  1. Specifically, to the Office of the Deputy President, as Leader of Government business, to urgently address the departmental political leadership.
  2. Presidency Director General and Secretary to Cabinet, Ms. Phindile Baleni to intervene and address the management deficiencies of the accounting officer of the department.
  3. Writing to the Minister in the Presidency responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Maropene Ramokgopa, to flag these issues and for action to be taken.