South Africa treasury takes control of ailing departments

6th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

The South African central government has taken over the administration of cash-strapped provincial departments in three provinces, in a bid to root out financial mismanagement.

"Having considered the situation in some of the provinces, cabinet has decided to intervene in the finances of some departments in Limpopo, Free State and Gauteng," said a cabinet statement sent out Monday evening.

Cabinet spokesman Jimmy Manyi said cabinet had received reports of underspending and overspending by the departments which required urgent intervention.

In Limpopo province, in the north, Pretoria will take charge of the treasury, education, transport and roads, health and public work departments.

The province is said to be on the verge of bankruptcy and has asked for a billion-rand ($123.7 million) overdraft from the central government to pay staff salaries.

Limpopo is the stronghold of the ruling party youth leader Julius Malema.

The Gauteng province, the country's economic engine, will receive assistance in the running of the departments of health and shared services, which is responsible for making payments to contractors.

The health department is said to have been struggling for years to manage its finances.

The Free State will receive assistance in running the department of police, road and transport.

"The Cabinet acted in the best interest of the province. This was done in agreement with the Premier," Free State government spokesman Wisani Ngobeni told Business Day.

Financial mismagement by provincial governments has been blamed for crippling the delivery of services to communities, resulting in violent protests.

© 2011 AFP

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