NEWS

How much has been allocated to GBV programmes, Pres Ramaphosa and Mr Momoniat?

ACTING TREASURY Director-General Ismail Momoniat has come under fire for failing to account for how much money has been allocated nationally towards fighting gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) and how much of the allocation has been spent.

During a question-and-answer session on the second day of the presidential summit on gender-based violence and femicide in Midrand, Johannesburg, on Wednesday, an uncertain Momoniat initially said the national allocation to government departments and provinces was R20 billion. He said he thought R13 billion of that had been spent.

Momoniat painstakingly tried to explain why it was difficult to establish how much of the allocated funds had been spent and what had been returned due to underspending by government departments.

“Let me explain the figure. It’s not as straightforward as it seems. If we want to understand the figure, we need to understand how the government is organised. You have government departments, and then you have programmes within those government departments.

“So, firstly, the budget will be allocated to the government department, and from that, it will be allocated to the programmes, and it’s up to each department whether it spends those funds or not,” added Momoniat.

He said identifying what had been spent was an extensive exercise as one would have to monitor the various financial statements of the departments and locate the spending on eradicating gender-based violence and femicide.

Momoniat said according to the breakdown that was in his possession, national government, which included “the departments of health, education, social development”, spent R10 billion annually.

“We think provinces have spent R3 billion over this 2022 financial year,” he said.

An activist at the summit criticised Momoniat.

They said: “Why then have you attended this summit where delegates are expected to account for the progress made towards eradicating GBVF if you do not have the figures to give as feedback?”

The acting director-general replied that “it doesn’t matter how much we spend, when we look at the enormity of the problem, it’s never going to be enough”.

He added that while state capture had exacerbated the lack of accountability, “the problem of lack of accountability was there in government departments even before that”.

“If a programme has been budgeted for, can departments spend money on what they say they are spending it on? It’s a problem that we have, not only with allocations around eradicating gender-based violence but across the government.

“All of us as public servants must be accountable and make sure we spend what we have said we are going to spend,” said Momoniat.

He was then asked to confirm that money allocated to GBVF programmes was returned to Treasury after not being spent.

“I don’t have that figure. I should have that figure… You must wait until the end of the year – once they have produced their financial statements. It still required a research effort,” he replied.

Image supplied (The message says it louder and clearer at the Presidential GBV Summit held in Midrand this week).

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