[imagesource: AFP via Getty Images]
Even after years and years of reading about sheer government incompetence, there is still room to be surprised.
Enter the Gauteng Department of Treasury, which was told to pay Microsoft Ireland R20 million in fees.
It’s not known what services were rendered, but somebody at the provincial department mistakenly paid $20 million, instead of R20 million, to Microsoft Ireland.
You know, that old chestnut.
Provincial Treasury processed an amount of $20 913 793,81 rather than the same rand value, and R318 307 941,79 was debited from the government bank account.
The Citizen reports:
The MEC for finance and e-Government, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko… then requested that provincial treasury should recall the full amount of R318 307 941.79 from Microsoft, but by the time the money was repaid in February 2021, only R311,464,203.81, was recovered because changes in the exchange rate over the period had lowered the dollar value received.
It resulted “in a shortfall of R6,843,737.90 because of the exchange rate.”
Poof – just like that, a cool R6,8 million down the tubes.
The incompetence is both amusing and maddening.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) was chomping at the bit to put the boot in, with Adriana Randall, a member of the provincial legislature, pointing out that money could have bought an additional 48 000 Johnson and Johnson vaccines.
The DA welcomed the investigation into the forex transaction, but have called for stronger action and for the official responsible to have been “suspended immediately and the money recouped from the official”.
…The opposition party vowed it would not rest until the money was recovered and implicated officials had been charged.
Keep digging and who knows what you might find.
In April, the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (GDID) and the Gauteng provincial treasury admitted they misreported expenditure by a quarter of a billion rand and nobody noticed, until The Daily Maverick came knocking.
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