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Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) has berated the basic education department for blowing its budget.

The committee said the department had spent 93% of its budget but failed to implement more than half of its targets for the 2016/17 financial year.

“The Committee has noted that there are poor monitoring mechanisms in the department as the implementing agents of the department get away with not following proper supply chain regulations and legislation‚” Scopa said in a statement.

“There seems to be inadequate monitoring mechanisms on scholar transport. Scopa could not get sufficient responses from the department on why it was not meeting its targets.”

Following a briefing on Tuesday evening‚ Scopa asked the department to supply it with written responses with details on the suppliers used for scholar transport.

This was not the first time that the department fell foul of a parliamentary committee. In October last year‚ the portfolio committee on basic education took officials to task over similar issues‚ including inadequate procurement processes. One MP pointed out that the cost of building schools had more than quadrupled. Others raised concerns about a lack of capacity among management.

Fruitless expenditure of R44 million was also discussed but the department disputed that finding by the auditor general.

“Monitoring at the department was seen to be inadequate and oversight was lacking at mid- and lower levels of management‚ especially the lack of capacity within the leadership of Finance and Supply Chain Management‚” the Parliamentary Monitoring Group reported on its website.

“There appeared to be a lack of consequence management in the Department. The Auditor General had alleged instability in the leadership of the Accounting Officer.” 

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