PAC recovers over E30m lost' money
LOBAMBA – The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has, in a space of four years recovered at least E30 million of government money that was lost through unnecessary spending.
This is according to the com-mittee’s recommendations report for the financial year ended March 31, 2011.
The report was tabled by PAC Chairperson Member of Parliament (MP) Thuli Dladla in Parliament yesterday.
The main function of the committee is to examine the accounting and financial matters raised by the Auditor General for investigation.
The committee then interviews implicated government officials and others to find out how money was, for instance, misused or even stolen to the detriment of government.
The report read: "Although informative, the committee found some interviews disturbing. It was sad to note that some ministries were rampaged with practices that led to large sums of unjustifiable expenditure. This was disturbing in that it occurred during a period when government is experiencing the worse financial period to be seen in recent past."
It added that although the fight against unnecessary loss of public funds was still far from over, the PAC (Parliament) as a whole had managed not only to recover the E30 million, but also three dairy cows out of nine that were lost. Furthermore, additional money and other items lost were still to be returned.
"The committee has also made recommendations such as implementing performance audits, referring matters to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the Royal Swaziland Police and recommending for people never to be responsible for public funds again," the report stated.
Another recommendation was that the Ministry of Public Service in consultation with the ministries concerned must ensure that all cases of misappropriation of funds and corruption were reported to the Civil Service Commission (CSC) for disciplinary action.
Furthermore, these cases should be forwarded to the Commissioner of Police for further investigation and possible prosecution.
Labour brokers no different from human traffickers - MP
LOBAMBA – Matsanjeni South MP Qedusizi Ndlovu says labour brokers operate in a fashion similar to those who engage in human trafficking.
Ndlovu was making a submission on the issue of unfair labour practices that had been discovered in the hospitality and retail industries.
One of the discoveries was that brokers had assumed the full role of employers and had gone to the extent of paying workers salaries, instead of just confining themselves to the service of matching people with jobs and then getting their profit.
According to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, brokers are responsible for some of the worst working conditions in the country, and this has prompted a review of the Employment Act, 1980.
Workers hired through brokers only get a one-year contract; have no increments or severance pay among other things.
MP Ndlovu felt that Swazis were exposed to a form of slavery brought about by brokers, more especially because they had no terminal benefits.
"This is similar to human trafficking. I think the ministry should get involved when people are being hired by these agents," he said.
MP Macford Sibandze said this was sheer exploitation of the poor because it seemed labour brokerage had a slave-like culture.
He added that this was capitalism at its extreme and even artists worldwide suffered the same fate.
Mafutseni MP Joseph Madonsela recalled a case where a person who was hired through a broker by one of the subcontractors in Bhunya had caustic chemicals accidentally spill on his arm such that it had to be amputated.
"That was the end of that person’s normal working career and there was no workmen’s compensation for him. The poor conditions are also noted in brokers who deal with domestic workers," said Madonsela.
MP Sibusiso Dlamini of Kwaluseni alleged that some workers were beaten up and ‘treated like dogs’ and it was therefore time that they were protected. MP Robert Magongo said brokers deducted a lot of money from the workers’ wages, which was very unfair.
He felt that the ministry was not dealing with the labour brokerage problem as it should.
Meanwhile, in response, Minister of Labour and Social Security Lutfo Dlamini said the ministry was tackling the problem, but whatever was being done had to be done within the ambit of the law.
He said, indeed, labour had become commercialised and some of the brokers had no licence to offer the kind of services they did.
"We will bring in regulations and it could be within six weeks as some MPs have proposed. Things like severance pay and retirement package should be made automatic," added Dlamini.
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