The picture of a better functioning Department of Military Veterans (DMV) presented to Parliament by the Defence and Military Veterans Minister was shot down by the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party shadow minister.
Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula told the National Assembly during the defence budget vote this week the DMV “managed to spend 85% of its allocated budget in 2016/17 as opposed to almost 60% expenditure in 2015/16”.
This she ascribed to the turnaround strategy at DMV enabling the department to deliver on its mandate in a more effective and efficient manner.
“The DMV management team is hard at work putting in the necessary systems, processes as well as policies to ensure all R662 million allocated funds are spent prudently,” the Minister said.
Not quite so, according to the DA’s Shahid Esau, who agreed with her on the 85% spend but with qualification.
“The DMV spent 100% of its administration budget but only 78% on socio-economic services and 83% on empowerment and stakeholder management – the actual benefits and services to veterans.
“This amounted to underspending of R91 million. The previous financial year saw the DMV underspend by more than R233 million; all money that should have been used by military veterans.”
Esau also pointed out the DMV achieved 10 out of 19 performance targets – “a miserable 53% in comparison to the 100% achieved on salaries”.
He also bemoaned inadequately skilled employees as a shortcoming at the DMV.
“It is a known fact DMV employees lack the requisite skills, experience and qualifications.
“A hundred and thirty-three out of 169 posts in the DMV are filled. However, the DMV employs 77 additional staff as interns and contract posts – a total of 210 employees.
“Yet it fails to deliver on its mandate. In fact, the recruitment policy and a skills audit are only now being considered for approval. In addition, a new organogram is under consideration with a permanent staff complement of more than 200. Yet the DMV already overspends on salaries by 0.6% and this increases year on year,” Esau said.