The Department of Basic Education wishes to clarify possible negative impression created in a media statement issued by the Standing Committee on Public Accounts. The statement issued by SCOPA gives the impression that funds were misused whilst the difference lies in expenses paid for work that has been done at various stages and work finalised with completion certificates already issued.
This is unfortunate considering the fact that the Minister of Basic Education personally explained to the Committee that the expenditure they referred to reflects payments on work done not work completed. That means that some projects could be at 90% completion in terms of construction but because they are 10% incomplete and have yet to be issued completion certificates, then they are reported as incomplete and reflect as such on the Auditor Generals Report.
Those indicated as complete in the report are those that have been fully completed and issued with all the regulatory certifications. The Minister further explained that in some instances learners had even moved into the schools, but delays in issuing completion certificates by engineers they are not recorded as complete.
Until a school has been 100% completed, it is reported as incomplete though 99% of the budget could have been spent on it, and for all practical purposes it is complete. In this context it is, therefore, incorrect to suggest that because expenditure accounting does not match completed structures then there is possibly misappropriation of funds.
Some of the projects are multi-year and the majority of big schools take more than 12 months to build. It therefore follows that the budget of each financial year would be used to complete the projects started in prior years and start some new projects in each particular year.
Whilst we fully accept the responsibility of ensuring that money invested in Basic Education is used properly the mandate to deal with challenges in the built industry lies elsewhere. The Minister, Deputy Minister, and DG have taken practical steps to address challenges experienced with Implementing Agents and a comprehensive report in this regard was presented to SCOPA.
The Department made an undertaking to submit in writing all outstanding matters raised by the Committee.
Enquiries: Elijah Mhlanga: 083 580 8275
Troy Martens: 078 899 3070
ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF BASIC EDUCATION