Contribution on Premier Budget Debate by Hon MB Gwala MPL

02 JUNE 2020

Hon. Chairperson,

Hon Premier, we want to commend your respected Office for ensuring that the provincial government continues to look after His Majesty the King but the IFP believes that it is not enough. We are deeply concerned about the manner in which the affairs of His Majesty the King and the Royal Family are being administered. Our concern dates back to the time when the Department of the Royal Household was reduced to a mere Chief Directorate in the Office of the Premier. The Chief Directorate has not received the necessary attention to manage its affairs to its fullest potential and to administer the affairs of His Majesty the King and the Royal Family.

It is our firm view that it would have been better if the Chief Directorate was an independent department for it to function properly.

Furthermore, we are alarmed by the utter lies and falsehoods levelled against His Majesty the King by some members of the public, who say that the King is misusing public funds.

His Majesty the King has also been vilified, ridiculed and insulted in the public domain by some political pundits – and the media – and accused of misusing public funds.

The Premier, as the head of government, is responsible for defending the King against those who are peddling lies. The King must be defended at all costs against these malicious accusations, which are designed to tarnish his dignity. These false accusations unduly prejudice His Majesty the King in the eyes of the public. Who else is bold enough to defend the King when the Office of the Premier is silent? As the IFP we reject the malicious lies regarding His Majesty the King and the misuse of public funds with the contempt they deserve. His Majesty the King is not a politician, he cannot defend himself whenever he is being attacked in the public domain. It is the Premier and his office who handles the purse who must take the first line in defence.

The accusations directed at His Majesty the King and the inability of the Office of the Premier to provide clarity about roles, powers and functions of his Office, the Royal Household Trust, as well as the Ingonyama Trust, has left the public in the dark.

Many people are unable to separate these three entities from one another and, when things go wrong, the King is the one to blame, for no apparent reason.

COVID-19

Furthermore, we urge the Hon Premier to ensure that the funding that was allocated from Arts and Culture to host cultural events like uMkhosi WoMhlanga and uMkhosi weLembe – as there is a high possibility that they will not take place during this financial year – is not surrendered back to the reserves but is still made available to assist His Majesty the King to raise awareness about the Covid-19 pandemic or even to assist the indigent families.

LUWAMBA PROJECT

As the IFP we are very concerned about failed government projects in the Province. We challenge the Premier to provide answers regarding the failed Luwamba Project, which was meant to stimulate economic activity for the poverty-stricken community of Ntambanana. We were led to believe that the Luwamba Project would alleviate poverty by creating employment opportunities for the rural communities of King Cetshwayo. This project has all but collapsed and is in ruins.

The sad part is that no one has been held accountable for the failure. Clearly this was another case of the wasteful expenditure of public funds. The silence of the provincial government on matters in which millions of Rands of taxpayers’ money are unaccounted for leaves much to be desired. We wish to know, who is being protected here? Officials implicated in the misappropriation of public funds must be made to pay back every cent.

We are aware that the Hon Premier inherited this project from his predecessors but we urge him to institute an urgent investigation into the expenditure of funds allocated for this project.

We also note that in the Inkululeko Development Project’s phase 2, the focus for 2020/21 will continue to be on the uMzinyathi and uThukela District, uMvoti Municipality, as well as Weenen and Muden, and similar projects have been started in Ndumo, KwaMhlabuyalingana. We believe that if this Project is well managed it will improve the lives of our people. Therefore, the IFP calls upon the Premier’s Portfolio Committee to conduct an oversight visit to the Luwamba and Inkululeko Development Projects, as public funds were invested in these projects.

I thank you.