Mapisa-Nqakula tough on wasteful spending

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cape Town - Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has vowed to put the brakes on the department's wasteful spending - and one of her immediate plans is to appoint a Chief Financial Officer who will review the budget structure.

Speaking during the department's budget vote in parliament on Thursday, Mapisa-Nqakula said the budget review will also include prioritising the department's core plans while helping avoid waste and identify opportunities for savings.

There will also be measures in place to reduce payment of overtime to workers. The department came under fire recently following revelations that it had paid out close to R900 million annually to workers for overtime.

"As promised during the last budget debate, the 7-day establishment is now fully operational in all of our centres. We have however experienced some teething and capacity related problems with regard to the work shift system that is being implemented together with the 7-day establishment," Mapisa-Nqakula said.

"We intend to continue with the 7-day establishment and monitor the level of cost saving benefits due to the reduction of overtime payments".

The department was allocated a budget of R15.8 billion for the financial year and is expected to grow at an annual rate of 9.7 percent to R18.2 billion in the next three years. The budget includes allocations to cover further implementation of Occupational Specific Dispensation, the increase in the number of beds required and expenditure relating to the procurement of the additional correctional centres.

Mapisa-Nqakula said while the department was not planning to embark on any new major projects due to budget constraints, there are no plans to budget for a deficit as this was not allowed in terms of the Public Finance Management Act.

"I must emphasise that the department will manage the budget constraints within the provisions of the PFMA," she said.