Business Insider Edition

These two govt departments are the worst when it comes to paying suppliers on time

Phumi Ramalepe , Business Insider SA
 Mar 31, 2021, 05:00 PM
Union Buildings in Pretoria are photographed.
The Union Buildings in Pretoria. (Gallo Images, file)

  • Various government departments have not been paying suppliers on time, according to Public Service Commission (PSC) Commissioner Michael Seloane. 
  • The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure and the Department of Water and Sanitation have unpaid invoices amounting to millions.  
  • And other departments are simply not submitting all the financial reports required by National Treasury.
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The departments of public works and infrastructure, and water and sanitation owe their suppliers more than R400 million, according to Public Service Commission (PSC) Commissioner Michael Seloane. 

While several government departments are not paying suppliers on time, both these departments need close monitoring, said Seloane at a virtual media briefing on Tuesday.   

Public Works and Infrastructure [including Property Management and Trading Entity] owed suppliers almost R52 million to end-December, up from R40.5 million at end-September. 

“Although water and sanitation (including the Trading Entity) report a decline in the related cost, from R544 838 250 for 641 invoices to R357 636 504 for 480 invoices during the same period, it is still one of the departments that should be monitored closely,” Seloane added. 

The department of mineral resources and energy also saw an increase in outstanding payments, up from R876,202  to R4.3 million.  

Home Affairs owed suppliers R636,813. Other departments such as women, youth and persons with disabilities have still not been held accountable for an invoice amounting to R1.7 million dating back to the first quarter of the 2020/2021 financial year. 

“The department must realise the importance of paying suppliers on time as this impact on their business operations. This might be as a result of gross negligence on the part of the department, and thus shows a lack of consequence management or accountability.” 

Some departments are also just not submitting financial reports to the National Treasury on time, including the departments of environment, forestry and fisheries, civilian secretariat for the Police Service and land reform and rural development. 

Seloane added that the departments showed little regard for the Public Finance Management Amendment Act (PFMA) and National Treasury, saying “accountability and consequence management within these departments are non-existent.” 

According to the commissioner, there has not been any improvement in third-quarter payments. The Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and North West were significant contributors to non-payment of invoices older than 30 days. Mpumalanga is yet to submit some reports.

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