Government cars continue to run out of petrol following failure to pay the Engen Depot which provides petrol.
Sources from within government have told Newsday that while other ministries have paid for the petrol service, others are still behind their paying schedule.
One official who requested to speak on condition of anonymity told Newsday that the issue of petrol is a political gimmick to sabotage the government.
“The government has a contract with Engen which has been running for years. Even though we indeed have not paid all it is owed, it doesn’t make sense why they would refuse to even refuel essential services which includes health and the police,” the source said.
“Ministers have started helping each other to fuel some government cars. They are literally forking out their monies to help towards the running of certain departments,” the course added.
Last week the Education Principal Secretary Thabang Lebese confirmed to this paper that government cars have stopped working due to lack of petrol.
Lebese noted that this was due to the prevailing government financial crisis, his ministry is still faced with a problem of paying school feeding service providers to date.
Making reference to the late salary payment last month, the PS stressed that the financial crisis was deeper.
“I am sure that you have realised that government cars don’t have petrol, and civil servants received their payments late.
“The problem began this financial year when the government introduced a new version of IFMIS which really started giving the government problems, and in turn affecting everyone who has to be paid by the government,” Lebese said.
The crunch was entered by the opposition leaders who criticised the government on failing to run the country.
Mathibeli Mokhothu lashed out that the problem resurfaced last month when the government delayed to pay civil servants their salaries.
“We are afraid that the same thing is going to happen this month. Minister of Finance needs to tell the nation where the problem is. The government promised to pay the teachers last month but according to reports, it has failed to honour their end just at the first month. How many teachers have been paid so far as per the agreement?” Mokhothu charged.
He emphasised saying, “The government is in a huge financial crisis visibly so. Over 40 government ministries are not able to fill petrol tanks because the government owes Engine garage a lot of money.”
“A few days back, 2 ambulances from Queen ‘Mamohato Memorial Hospital were seen parked with the patients who were supposed to be delivered to Bloemfontein at the government garage hoping to refill but could not because there is no petrol. Health, LMPS and the LDF are essential ministries which should not be affected by things like no petrol,” said Mokhothu.
When contacted to confirm, Finance Minister Dr. Moeketsi Majoro told this paper he was in a meeting.
Last week this paper tried to get a reaction to Lebese’s revelations, ‘Mamakopoi Letsie, Deputy Principal Secretary with the Finance Minister ridiculed Lebese saying IFMS was not hindering government to make any payments.
She charged that Lesebe should not blame her ministry if the Education Ministry was in a financial calamity.
She noted that government cars did not have petrol because Engine Depot did not send them an invoice on time.
“Engen did not give us an invoice on time and by the time we made a request we were told that the lady in charge was on maternity leave, so we were told that we owed Engen and for that reason the depot will not be giving us any petrol.”