The Northern Cape Provincial Legislature, like many other government institutions countrywide, has not been spared from the impact of COVID-19.
OFM News reports that the Legislature’s communication manager, Mpho Masina, tells OFM News that so far one of their employees has died of COVID-19 complications. She says of their 146 employees, only 7 tested positive for the virus. Masina says the spread of COVID-19 has affected the Legislature’s normal constitutional functions, which includes the oversight of the government on areas of service delivery. She says planned oversight had to be cancelled in line with COVID-19 regulations.
To date, the province has over 440 deaths due to COVID-19 related complications. The province’s number of active cases is more than 3 750.
“The first lockdown, as imposed by the President in March 2020, came at a time when the institution was approaching the end of its financial year. With internal challenges and other constraints already experienced by the institution, this led to delays in the compilation of Annual Financial Statements, the submission and commencement of an audit by the Auditor-General (AG) Kimi Makwetu,” Masina adds. Makwetu died on 11 November 2020 of lung cancer, which he had been diagnosed with in June 2018. His term would have come to an end at the end of November 2020.
She says at the time of the lockdown, budgets were already passed for the financial year and other areas such as procurement of PPE and the enhancement of technological tools of the trade were not adequately budgeted for [and] a lot of budget shifting had to be done.
“In essence, this resulted in other activities of the legislature being unfunded to accommodate the new demands as imposed by the pandemic,” Masina further adds.