IFP HON L DE KLERK MPL
“Time is precious and valuable”, we all know that one cannot roll back time. What has happened stands and history will judge one according to that.
The time is up, the money is finished the need is great. The citizens of our beloved country are up in arms and believe that the only time the government listens is when there is violent protests. We are at a bad place and calamity is upon us.
For the past few years, during midterm budget performance review debates, I have constantly asked the governing party to “wake up” as most of provincial departments and state-owned entities were battling to balance their budgets meaning spending the straight-line benchmark of 50 percent after 6 months.
We as a province is staring at a projected over-expenditure by all the provincial departments of almost R1.2 billion rand. Even if these departments arrest some of these projected over-expenditures it will still wipe out our paltry R42 million Rand Provincial Fund contingency.
This year, we are witnessing the highest office in the province, who’s core mandate is: “To be the centre of governance, providing leadership towards achieving KZN Vision 2030 through co-operative governance, performance and accountability through monitoring and evaluation”: Failing to lead by example as it is supposed to be. The Office of the Premier, our provincial legislature have exceeded mid-year projections and also projected to overspend at the year end. The provincial contingency reserves remaining is not sufficient to protect the provincial fiscus if these two departments overspend budgets.
Over and above this Hon Speaker, the OTP claimed during mid-term budgets hearings that Royal Household is the reason behind the R50 million spending on events held in the first 6 months, but Provincial Treasury has revealed that out of 34 events requested for approval; 7 were not approved and these events totalled R25.31 million.
ANNUAL PERFORMANCE PLANS vs UNDER-SPENDING
The Provincial Treasury has indicated that thirteen departments have underspent their overall budget allocation. They have failed to meet the 50% benchmark. Most departments did not even spend conditional grants that were ring-fenced for specific projects. This is a clear indication of poor planning.
This government must explain to the people of this province as to why money that is specifically allocated to take care of their valued services is not being spent. It is deeply worrying that spending patterns in almost all departments are not in line with their Annual Performance Plans and Strategic planning guidelines.
It goes beyond comprehension, how the governing party can continue to mislead the public of KwaZulu-Natal by claiming funds shortages and budget pressures as reasons for non-delivery and development, when millions in grants have been underspent and will probably be returned to the Provincial Treasury.
It is deeply concerning regardless of triple structural challenges facing our communities of high unemployment, inequality and poverty the Department of Agriculture, Education, Sports & Recreation, EDTEA chose to extremely low spend their conditional grants. How does EDTEA explain an underspending of EPWP grant when it is fully aware of high youth unemployment?
Hon Speaker, this is a clear indication that officials put into these departments have no knowledge of their Annual Performance Plans in relation to their Spending, they do whatever they please and the citizens of our province suffer because funds are not spent to deliver much needed services. Public officials lack understanding that consequences of government spending would result directly into the betterment of the lives of our people through increased service delivery and less violent protests. The allocated budget serves to represent the needs of ordinary poor citizens of our province, and the implementation of such a budget would improve the quality of their lives immensely.
FUNDS MISDIRECTED INTO ANC CAMPAIGNS
All that is prioritized is corruption, in some departments we saw tax-payers money funding ANC elections campaigns. E.g. COGTA in committing R22 million in Thuma Mina Campaigns (ANC 2019 Election Campaign) instead of putting people’s lives first. The governing party officials continues to show disregard to the people as commitment to political party supersedes national interest. This kind of misuse of funds has had detrimental effect on government's effort to deliver effective services to the people as we have observed a sharp rise on service delivery protests in the last few years. The noble nation building project has been sacrificed on the altar of a partisan election campaign.
Department of Health has underspent Infrastructure maintenance budget by R75 million. This is a shame because our people suffer in appalling conditions in public health facilities whose infrastructure is crumbling. One recalls that Oncology Units in most KZN hospitals are in dire need of maintenance and more infrastructure. Yet this government does not have the will or the capacity to get it right. One of the main reasons for the projected over-expenditure in health is masses of medical-legal claims against the department. Notwithstanding the MEC’s complaint that it is a result of the unscrupulous lawyers, the real reasons is poor health care and the result is death and suffering of patients at state hospitals. That is the real reason for the many medical-legal claims.
An election is upon us next year. We as the IFP is confident that the electorate has realized that notwithstanding the constant calling for the governing party to “wake up” they are still in a deep sleep. This will result in a poor electoral outcome for the ANC.
I thank you