Debate in Finance

By
Hon L de Klerk MPL,
KZN Legislature
03 June 2020

Honourable Speaker in my general BUDGET debate, I have highlighted the policy deficiencies of the ANC as a party and that their lack of good policies is causing the poor growth of the South African economy. We, however, as a Province, receive the bulk of our monies from the National Treasury, and our provincial Treasury is bound by what it receives. I have to state that the IFP and myself have the utmost respect for the National Treasury and the MEC for Finance, the Hon. Ravi Pillay and believe that they’re doing a good job, notwithstanding the Province’s fiscal challenges. The key focus includes improved audit outcomes across the Province, as well as on budget spending, and for the Province to remain cash positive. These tasks are very critical, as many of the provincial departments do not adhere to the advice given to them by the Provincial Treasury. I have a good example of this, which is the Department of Health, where the Treasury intervened to try and help the Department, however, sadly there is no further funding allocated for this intervention fund for the Department of Health during the  20/21 MTEF. This is very worrisome, as in the case with the Department of Health, it has been the leader in irregular expenditure in South Africa for the past three years. Honourable members, this is a very good example of how important funding is. I stress, if there are no funds, it hampers the good work that our Provincial Treasury wants to achieve. One of our Province’s main problems is clean audits and the Treasury is pivotal in this regard. If there is not enough money, it will impact on the Department’s ability to give hands-on support to the different departments, and programmes like “operation clean audit”, cannot and will not be achieved. The same will apply in terms of municipal financial management assistance. At the time of the hearing, it became clear that the Treasury, for the past three years, underspent their baseline significantly. It was observed that the Department does not budget adequately for the TOCAR Bursary Fund, due to the fact that the Department tends to shift funds in the adjustment estimate and post adjustment estimate processes, to offset spending pressure in respect of the transfer. The IFP implores the Department not to underspend their Budget and to utilise all its resources prudently, to support the struggling departments in achieving clean audits. We believe that this is achievable and will support the Treasury where we can to make sure that our wonderful province can achieve the dream of a 100% clean audit.

I thank you.