The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) is giving Minister of Employment and Labour Thulas Nxesi two months to investigate and submit a report regarding the irregular expenditure of the 2019/20 financial year amounting to R86 870 456.

On Tuesday, the committee held a hearing with the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) on its annual report and financial statements.

The committee expressed dissatisfaction at the responses it received from Thobile Lamati, the director-general of the Department of Employment and Labour.

The auditor-general (AG) found that the UIF had failed to effect consequence management on a key contract, which resulted in irregular expenditure identified in the previous years, amounting to R86 870 456.

This is despite the UIF instituting a forensic investigation, in which the report outlined recommendations. The AG has stated that there has not been any action taken accordingly.

EFF MP Ntombovuyo Mente said the audit report of the UIF and reasons for complications indicates that there are areas where the same problem occurred three years ago.

“In particular, a problem of not charging people that are the reason for irregular expenditure, unauthorised expenditure, fruitless and wasteful expenditure, I was hoping that the director-general would be able to indicate the number of cases being investigated.”

She added that the wrong precedence is being set because it seems no one will be investigated.

“The AG makes a finding for the department to act on it.”

Committee chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said Nxesi is also required to provide monthly audit response plans on the fund’s progress in addressing the issues raised by the AG, as well as a monthly report on the update regarding the disciplinary processes currently under way, including the issues around the commissioner of the UIF, who is currently on suspension.

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