Picture: Katherine Muick
Picture: Katherine Muick

The labour department has failed SA. It is supposed to ensure the environment is conducive to job creation and job retention, and that people are protected by the labour laws.

These mandates have not been met. Almost 10-million South Africans who could be in the workplace are unable to find work, and those who are at work invariably face horrific terms and conditions that are not properly monitored or policed by the department.

The auditor-general has given most of the department a negative review. Overall, it has experienced a regression in audit outcomes over the past few years. For instance, the compensation fund published financial statements that were not supported by appropriate documents, and the auditor-general was unable to express an audit opinion thereon. This has been the case for the past five years.

The Unemployment Insurance Fund has experienced its fourth consecutive regression. This year, it lacked proper accounting systems and processes to accurately report on investments. Sheltered employment enterprises did not comply with the requirements of the applicable accounting standards. The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration and the National Economic Development and Labour Council submitted financial statements for auditing that contained material misstatements.

Most of the department’s portfolio failed to take effective steps to prevent irregular and/or fruitless and wasteful expenditure. Most damaging, the compensation fund did not take effective and appropriate disciplinary steps against officials who committed irregular, and/or wasteful and fruitless expenditure. Shockingly, disciplinary hearings were not held for the confirmed cases of financial misconduct.

Although many other issues were pointed out by the auditor-general, it should be noted that the department incurred irregular expenditure of almost R65m during the 2016-17 financial year.

Michael BagraimDA shadow labour minister

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