21 MAY 2021
As my colleague has alluded before, I support the Budget.
We are concerned about the lapses in supply chain management and internal controls that has led to millions of rand looted from this Department’s budget when it comes to the procurement of 48 000 blankets worth R22 million for the homeless. By that time, it was revealed that only 4 982 blankets that were distributed– out of 48 000 blankets procured – and over 43 000 blankets were allegedly in unsafe storage somewhere. Can Hon MEC tell us what happened to the remaining blankets? Mhlonishwa Ngqongqoshe ungasenzela yini umusa uke nje usithathe usiyosikhombisa bonke abantu abahlala emgwaqeni abahlomula ngalezingubo? Okushaqisayo ukuthi asikaze sibone zithombe zalezo zingubo okuthiwa zathengwa ngetshe lemali yabakhokhi-ntela.
I will not go into details about this issue since a forensic investigation has taken place and disciplinary action is being instituted against the officials concerned. What needs to be red-flagged, though is that such unscrupulous actions must never be allowed to happen again and this can only be achieved if those found guilty are made to repay money that they stole from the poorest of the poor in our province. It is high time that those who are corrupt are brought to book.
The IFP is concerned about the money spent to officials on suspension with full pay. It is also important that the Department follows up with the recovery of money from the one official who resigned and was paid his benefits before the report of forensic audit was released. We call on the Department to ensure that the companies under investigation are immediately blacklisted from doing business with any provincial government departments, pending the outcome of the probe and all staff who are under investigation are not redeployed to other areas of the provincial government, particularly into areas of supply chain.
The IFP remains committed to fighting for a corruption-free KZN, where money that is meant for the people is spent on the people, rather than only benefitting a select few.
In areas where government institutions operate with inadequate staff, complaints of poor service delivery are inevitable from communities. But yet we have unemployed qualified social workers who are sitting at home waiting to be employed. The Department should not be focusing on filling high level posts when social workers are required on the ground working with communities.
The drugs problem continues to worsen inexorably from year to year. Therefore, IFP calls for more action on drug trade in the Province. Government must provide visible deterrence and public reassurance through the consistent punishment of drug dealers and suppliers,
and the disruption of their markets.
Lastly, amid all the planning and vaccination the impact of the spread of Covid-19 among homeless people is not being widely discussed. It is nearly impossible for homeless people to maintain social distance and comply with hygiene requirements. It should, therefore, be of special concern to local authorities to make informed submissions on the number and whereabouts of homeless people within municipalities. Many homeless people who did not stay in shelters might sleep in abandoned buildings, bus stations or even shop fronts.
These are places where an exposed person could contaminate their surroundings, creating opportunities for spreading the infection to others. This is a calamity that needs to be addressed with urgency. Unnecessary spreading of the virus can be avoided with careful planning and proper intervention.
The IFP challenges government – in particular the departments of Health and Social Development – to inform the public what plans have been put in place to ensure homeless people are given due consideration in planning the roll-out of the vaccine.
I THANK YOU