Rrespected colleagues in Legislature;
It is against the backdrop of recent discussions and deliberations of radical economic transformation that I present my debate today.
Economic prosperity is the lifeblood of any developing nation. As South Africans, we have inherited many inequalities and disparities that should be addressed without compromising economic stability and prosperity. To this end, the department of economic development should adopt prudent measures to bridge the divide that is a legacy of the past in a way that would create more sustainable jobs, eliminate wasteful expenditure and sustain economic growth.
One of the greatest concerns is the exorbitant salaries commanded by CEO's of government entities. This is one of the biggest drains of financial resources costing the department in the region of 30 million annually. How do we possibly justify this when these entities are a perennial problem? Their underperformance, inefficiency and complete failure to deliver value added services is not worthy of the large sums of money paid out in remuneration to those in management. Had they been deserving of these handsome amounts, the department would not be bailing them out when they come knocking, begging bowl in hand.
Rather than bailing them out, the department should look to employing competent individuals and steer clear of cadre deployment and nepotism which results in incompetent people employed in key positions.
With regards to Ezemvelo, the department should seriously consider commercializing available accommodation so that at least some income can be generated. Vehicles with a 5 year maintenance plan should also be leased instead of purchased. This would save money that is currently being spent in the maintenance of these vehicles.
Just like Ezemvelo, the Ithala estates are failing to generate funds though it's buildings. Aging infrastructure will cost the department money to maintain. These should be rented out to for example SMME's, thereby generating a guaranteed monthly income. Incentives should be created to make the option or leasing property of Ithala Estates more attractive.
In this way, buildings will not be left to fall into a state of disrepair and become white elephants and through money generated from tenants, Ithala can become self-sustainable and not add to the financial woes of the department.
Another issue of concern is that of feasibility studies for the Drakensberg cable car. This is costing the department large sums of money. In view of the budget cuts, the department should stop these studies for what could be another money guzzling white elephant.
Hon. Chairperson; all Members of the Kwa Zulu Natal Legislature shoulder enormous responsibilities to ensure that our Province achieves the economic empowerment primarily for those who were oppressed. However, Hon. Zikalala’s Department is at the coalface of this noble campaign for economic liberation of our people. We understand that he has to lead this campaign in a difficult time as the economy is on a downward trend. We wish to assure him that as the IFP we shall cooperate with him because it is in the interest of all South Africans.
In particular we wish the MEC to pay more focus on informal-traders, most of whom are black. We urge him also to consider how his department will help black business people whose businesses went burned down during those terrible times in our country.
The critical questions we need to ask are:
- How are we going to create sustainable jobs in this department?
- How are we going to attract investors to our province so that we can stimulate economic growth?
These questions require answers that will be followed up by the implementation of tangible measures that will usher in economic prosperity for our province. While we support the budget, of R2 784 403, we call for prudent spending and a commitment to end wasteful expenditure and corruption as radical economic transformation cannot succeed in a climate of corruption and fiscal mismanagement.
I thank you.