DATE OF PUBLICATION OF INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER: 28/02/2012
(INTERNAL PAPER: 5 2012)
Mrs A T Lovemore (DA) to ask the Minister of Basic Education:
(1) Whether she has taken steps to ensure that the (a) Eastern Cape, and (b) Limpopo provincial education departments receive unqualified audit opinions from the Auditor-General for the 2011-12 financial year; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details in each case;
(2) whether she has implemented measures in the Eastern Cape to hold to account those responsible for irregular expenditure of (a) Rl.95 billion related to employees' compensation and (b) R1.99 billion related to supply chain management in 2010-11; if not, why not; if so, what are the details in each case? NO483E
1(a) The Eastern Cape Education Department (ECED) has never obtained a clean audit report since its establishment. The regularity audit outcomes had either been Adverse or Disclaimer Audit opinions. In an attempt to arrest this appalling situation, Cabinet decided to invoke section 100(1)(b) of the Constitution on the Eastern Cape Education Department.
The National Intervention Team, which comprised senior officials from the Department of Basic Education, National Treasury and the Department for Public Service and Administration, and assisted by senior officials from the Eastern Cape Education Department and the Eastern Provincial Treasury, embarked on a scoping exercise, part of whose outcomes, confirmed the results of the strategic diagnostic analysis earlier conducted by a team of senior officials from the Department of Basic Education, led by the Director-General.
The National Treasury introduced urgent steps to fully implement an Audit Rectification Plan so that the Eastern Cape Education Department can move from a Disclaimer Audit Opinion to at least a qualified audit.
1(b) The team of senior managers from the Department of Basic Education, under the leadership of the Director-General has conducted a strategic diagnostic analysis of the challenges facing the Limpopo Department of Education. In the main, and similarly to the Eastern Cape Education Department, the main cost-driver in the Limpopo Department of Education is the compensation of employees. This has happened to the detriment of prerequisite educational imperatives.
The National Intervention Team from the Department of Basic Education deployed to Limpopo in January 2012 is currently working with the Provincial Audit Committee to assess the processes, procedures and controls of the Limpopo Department of Education. Improvements on audit findings are expected.
2(a) Specifically related the Honourable Member’s question were challenges pertaining to the personnel and provisioning budget, especially on the post provisioning norms and compensation of educators. This arose from the continuous failure by the Eastern Cape Education Department, over a number of years, to effectively comply with policies as well as norms and standards related to educator post provisioning.
On 06-07 December 2011 a team of Deputy Ministers was deployed to the Eastern Cape to monitor, oversee and evaluate the implementation of the section 100(1)(b) intervention in the Eastern Cape Education Department.
The Deputy Ministers’ team recommended that the National Intervention Team, the Department for Public Service and Administration (DPSA) in particular, must be seized with this task which will include provincial personnel. In particular DPSA, must deal with the issues pertaining to financial disclosures, performance agreements, disciplinary matters, leave management, and the reversal of salaries of wrongly elevated officials. The DPSA should further be seized with the responsibility of cleaning the PERSAL transversal system. The DBE, together with DPSA, must assist in the issue of temporary teachers, double-parked and surplus teachers and in identifying the positions that have to be filled for purposes of delivering quality education. These recommendations will be considered by Cabinet soon.
2(b) It must be said that the form and operation of the Supply Chain Management in Eastern Cape Education Department make it extremely difficult to meet reasonable turnaround times. There is an urgent need to re-engineer the entire Supply Chain Management component, and ensure that it has a comprehensive strategic plan to enhance its effective functioning and accountability.
Similarly, the organisational structure of the Risk Management and Internal Audit Units need to be urgently reviewed, strengthened and adequately resourced to carry out their important mandates in that department.