01/12/2016 08:00 SAST | Updated 01/12/2016 08:03 SAST

Don't Know What To Study Next Year? The AG Says SA Needs Young People In The Water Industry

The auditor general also said health services were hampered by a shortage of pharmacists and pharmacists' assistants.

Shiraaz Mohamed/Getty Images

An ageing professional workforce and lack of succession planning for water engineers and scientists is hindering service delivery, Auditor General Kimi Makwetu said in Pretoria on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, health services were hampered by a shortage of pharmacists and pharmacists' assistants, who played a big role in the distribution of pharmaceutical products, and helped nursing staff.

Makwetu was releasing the performance audit reports of pharmaceutical products, water infrastructure, and urban renewal projects.

He was worried about the lack of capacity in district municipalities to operate and maintain water infrastructure.

Makwetu said his office looked at water projects in seven district municipalities in six provinces.

Even though government strategies and policies were generally well-intentioned and thought through, the finer planning and execution was lacking.

In water services, there were no agreements governing co-operation, operational aspects, or maintenance. This had a negative impact on the lifespan of infrastructure.

A lack of communication, proper documentation, and monitoring and co-ordination at all three levels of government had a further negative impact on service delivery.

Lack of money

One of the biggest problems hampering the delivery of water services was that money was not made available to municipalities. They received too little money for operational management and maintenance, Makwetu said.

Contractors suffered because of this lack of money.

Makwetu said the investigation into the distribution of pharmaceutical products was done to determine if medicines and medical supplies got to patients on the days they visited clinics or hospitals.

A total of 109 health institutions and 10 medical stores were visited over two years for the study.

"Even though standard operational procedures were developed to manage pharmaceutical products, it is not always executed according to plan. The result is bad practices at medical stores and institutions," Makwetu said.

Some health departments overspent because they based their budgets on historical information and not on the real needs of patients.

Makwetu, nevertheless, had high praise for the national health department for taking steps to rectify problems he had pointed out.

When the auditor general's team revisited some of the institutions, they noted improvements.