De Lille probes non-payment of invoices

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille has launched a full-scale investigation into the failure by the department to pay its service providers within 30 days.

As of 22 July, the department had 2 085 invoices that had not been paid within the stipulated 30-day period.

Facilities Management accounts for around 80% of invoices older than 30 days.

This relates to day-to-day, unplanned maintenance carried out on department buildings.

A Works Control System (WCS) is used for managing projects. It deals with major construction projects and includes both contractors and consultants.

This, together with day-to-day maintenance, is the core of the department. Jointly, the two constitute 94% of the unpaid invoices that have gone beyond 30 days.

Other default areas pertain to telecommunications service providers and car rental agencies.

Several reasons, including processes being done outside of Supply Chain Management, issues with verification and certification of work done as well as late submissions of quotations, have been given for these delays.

De Lille believes this is unacceptable, particularly at a time when the economy needs strengthening and job creation is key.

In his reply to the State of the Nation Address debate in February 2018, President Cyril Ramaphosa sent out a stern warning to departments.

He stressed that the “frustration entrepreneurs have to endure at the hands of the very State that is supposed to assist them is a matter of great concern” and that the failure “to pay suppliers within 30 days has a devastating impact on small and medium-sized businesses”.

De Lille is in the process of implementing a Contract Management System, together with a Consequence Management System to keep track of payments and warns that there will be consequences for individuals who fail to comply with what is a legal requirement.

“The President has called on us to serve. So, we need to serve for public good and by extension, fix South Africa.

“The buck stops with us. We need to return to the Batho Pele principles,” the Minister said. –