Government’s commitment to paying service providers within a 30-day period appears to have fallen by the wayside, with Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Jeff Radebe reporting a regression in the practice between June 2015 and June this year.
A total of 17 668 invoices, valued at R340 million, were paid to service providers after the 30-day period as of June this year, compared with 13 803 invoices, valued at R224 million, in the same period last year.
“Of serious concern is the number of invoices that are older than 30 days that remain unpaid,” Radebe said.
In June, 12 870 invoices received by national departments remained unpaid. Addressing an imbizo for small and medium enterprises yesterday, Radebe said decisive action would be taken against officials responsible for the delay or nonpayment to suppliers in terms of the Treasury regulations.
The regulations require that creditors be paid within 30 days, failing which a report must be sent to Cabinet stating reasons for noncompliance.
“Since accounting officers sign performance agreements with executive authorities, it is important that the reports result in consequences, where those neglecting their duties are charged or penalised,” Radebe said.
He urged service providers to report any instances of bribery by officials to expedite payment to suppliers. “Any officials who are found guilty of any transgression will face the full might of the law,” Radebe warned.
“Notwithstanding the vulnerable position service providers find themselves in, they should not allow themselves to be partners in the commission of crime.”
A unit established in April last year to tackle the logjam in payments has helped improve compliance levels by departments.