POLITICS
09/05/2018 10:58 SAST | Updated 09/05/2018 10:58 SAST

The House That Supra Built... And How It's Falling Apart

North West under Mahumapelo's leadership as premier and ANC chairperson has suffered from failing infrastructure and growing wasteful expenditure.

North West premier Supra Mahumapelo.
Gallo Images
North West premier Supra Mahumapelo.

The news of North West premier Supra's Mahumapelo impending (unconfirmed) resignation comes after a month of violent protests in the province calling for his removal — with protesters citing issues of failing infrastructure, mismanagement and corruption as the root causes.

Mahumapelo is expected to hand in his official resignation any time between Wednesday and Friday this week — he has intimated that he is about to go more than once, but has not so far committed to an actual announcement.

However his tenure ends, his legacy in the province is riddled with allegations of corruption, tender irregularities and the improper awarding of contracts.

Accompanying this is the deterioration of state departments in North West, evidenced by growing wasteful expenditure and failing infrastructure.

READ: Who Is Supra Mahumapelo, And Why Is He So Powerful?

This becomes most clear on close inspection of two audit reports on North West by the Auditor-General (AG) since Mahumapelo took over. This is not to say the province had a clean sheet before Mahumapelo's arrival in 201 — but the outlook for the province, according to the AG's findings, has in no way improved since then.

In the 2015/16 financial year, the AG found that the outcomes of public entities in the province remained poor, with seven of them being disclaimed. It found that the unacceptable performance and outcomes of public entities could be attributed to a "lack of effective monitoring by the provincial leadership" as well as the responsible departments.

A lack of management, according to the AG, led to increased levels of irregular expenditure. More than R13-billion of unresolved irregular expenditure was identified in the province.

This continued into the next financial year.

In 2016/17, the AG found specific problems with Mahumapelo's office.

"Of specific concern is the audit outcome of the premier's office, which has remained qualified for the [past] two years with increasing irregular expenditure... The lack of improvement in audit outcomes indicates that the provincial executive leadership was not interested in our messages and that overall, there were poor accountability and consequence management," the report said.

It was found that the overall audit outcomes of North West regressed, with only 32 percent of the auditees obtaining financially unqualified opinions in 2016/17, compared to 46 percent in 2015/16 and 62 percent in 2014/15.

The total unresolved balance for the province was found to have increased again — to R16.5-billion.

In 2015, three North West departments — namely health, public works, and education and sport development — were placed under administration following years of financial instability and mismanagement.

In a statement by North West DA leader Joe McGluwa, he highlighted various issues in the province under Mahumapelo's leadership.

"Hospitals and clinics are understaffed and without resources. There are no proper patient transport systems in place. Towns and cities are falling apart due to no maintenance; due to corrupt spending by government. Our communities and schools are subjected to bucket toilets and pit toilets still," McGluwa said.

Last month, president Cyril Ramaphosa appointed an interministerial task team to "give urgent attention to matters of governance and risks facing" the province. The team was sent to assess the state of governance in the province.

The health department in the province has since been put under national administration.