SA government spent more than US$80 million on IT consultants in three years

South Africa’s national government departments are reported by the country’s Auditor General to be wasting taxpayers’ money by handing out consultancy contracts and not hiring full-time staff.

Deputy Auditor General Kimi Makwetu said that eight out of forty departments audited spent approximately R33.5 billion (US$3.7 billion) on consultants during the three years from 2009 to 2011.

This includes amounts spent on ICT contractors.

Once audits of provincial departments are included, in total taking the “wasteful expenditure” to R102 billion (US$11.4 billion).

It seems the main causes of these increasing consultant costs are operational things such as a lack of proper needs analyses as well as managers being proactive to fill vacant posts. Because of these inefficiencies contracts end up being extended.

Makwetu said: “Consultants are being appointed in areas where permanent employees are required and would have been more cost-effective. Departments lacked skilled staff to fulfil the required functions.”

Of the R102 billion in “wasteful expenditure”, more than a R1 billion went to IT projects that were overpaid or never completed.

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