The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] is angered by the revelations that government wasted over R1.4 Billion due to fruitless and wasteful expenditure in the past five years.

These revelations are contained in a report by the office of the Auditor-General briefing the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Appropriations. As NEHAWU, we find it totally unacceptable that government continues unabatedly to waste much needed public resources that should be directed towards improving the socio-economic conditions of our people.

This report is an indictment on government especially National Treasury which is tasked with managing the country’s finances for the promotion of economic development, good governance, social progress and a rising standard of living for all South Africans. The fact that National Treasury is listed as second highest contributor of fruitless and wasteful expenditure is of serious concern. The report reveals that National Treasury has incurred R339.47 million in fruitless and wasteful expenditure as a result of paying for software licenses that are not utilised.

The report paints a glaring picture on how government departments have deteriorated in complying with proper financial management and usage of public resources. This is evident with the revelations of the prevailing trends of fruitless and wasteful expenditure which include:

1.       Travel cancellation costs

2.       Unwanted goods or services

3.       License and software not used

4.       Unoccupied property

5.       Damages to state property due to negligence

6.       Weak project management resulting in standing time costs

The office of the Auditor-General yearly unearths these problems yet nothing is done by government to address and comply with legislation and avoid wastage of much need public resources. There isn’t proper consequence management to hold those responsible accountable, recover lost funds and strengthening the control environment. 

As NEHAWU, we find it distasteful that the government can continue wasting and abusing the public pursue at such an alarming rate whilst the country is confronted with challenges of high-levels of unemployment, extreme poverty and inequality.

Equally, what we find scandalous is how government and national treasury have been obsessed with implementing neoliberal austerity measures whilst they are the real culprits, haemorrhaging money through fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

Government and Treasury have been hell-bent on attacking collective bargaining and rolling-back of workers’ gains by mainly focusing on freezing the salaries of public servants in order to reduce the public sector wage bill, whilst bleeding much needed public pursue through fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

Lastly, as NEHAWU, we call on the government to hold to account those responsible for the fruitless, irregular and wasteful expenditure and equally implement the recommendations by the office of the Auditor-General to curb fruitless and wasteful expenditure.


Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat Zola Saphetha (General Secretary) at 082 558 5968; December Mavuso (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5969; Lwazi Nkolonzi (NEHAWU National Spokesperson) at 081 558 2335 or email: