Gauteng paid Microsoft R318 million instead of R21 million because of a simple error

The Gauteng Department of Treasury has lost R6.8 million because it paid Microsoft Ireland in US dollars instead of rand.

Adriana Randall, the DA’s Gauteng Shadow MEC for finance and e-government, revealed the Gauteng Provincial Treasury lost R6,843,737.90 of taxpayers’ money due to negligence.

The Treasury erroneously processed $20,913,793.81 to Microsoft instead of the rand value of R20,913,793.81 as per e-Government payment advice.

This erroneous payment resulted in a debit amount of R318,307,941.79 from the e-Government bank account.

After the error occurred, Gauteng’s e-government requested Provincial Treasury to recall the total amount from Microsoft. The money was successfully recalled in February 2021.

However, because of the fluctuating exchange rate, the $20.9 million which was refunded only amounted to R311,464,203.81. The negligent transaction, therefore, resulted in a loss of R6,843,737.90.

This loss was avoidable, and the DA wants to see action from the Gauteng government to avoid a repeat.

Randall said the Gauteng government should have taken more decisive action against the government official responsible.

“The official responsible should have been suspended, and the money recouped from the official,” she said.

“Consequence management is the only way in which errors like these will not happen and will send a strong message to any government official that is involved in negligence.”

Randall said the DA would not rest until this money is recovered for the benefit of the residents of Gauteng, and the implicated officials are charged.

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Gauteng paid Microsoft R318 million instead of R21 million because of a simple error