“Even worse, R71.1m had to be written off because it was no longer recoverable due to employees having passed away, left the service, become unemployed or untraceable,” DA spokesman Mike Moriarty said in a statement.
The information was given by acting finance MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza in response to questions in the legislature. MEC Mandla Nkomfe is overseas.
Writing off bad staff debt not only diverted money from service delivery programmes, but was avoidable, Moriarty said. The MEC’s spokesman John Sukazi said that in the 2012/13 financial year staff debt recoveries totalled more than R42 million.
“We are confident that this collection rate will improve further,” he said. “The debt that has not been recovered has been largely due to the fact that debtors are either deceased or are unemployed.”
Moriarty said the MEC further disclosed that the debt largely arose from bursaries. She said of the R33.8m handed over for collection, R21m was recovered, said Moriarty.
“The DA calls upon the Gauteng government to tighten up processes in order to prevent further raiding of the public purse.”
Sukazi said: “It is important to point out that a sizeable debt owed is related to bursaries in cases where employees have left their respective departments.
“That is why the human resource management units and the office of the chief financial officers work closely to monitor employee debt on a monthly basis to ensure that all monies due are collected accordingly.”
He said that with regards to resignations, the department had put in place an “automated termination system” to avoid unnecessary employee debts.