The Minister of Finance has not made any major pronouncements on the state of state owned entities and has left far too much room for speculation in a time whereby certainty is required to boost investor confidence.
The IFP welcomes the zero-based budget approach as it allows for flexibility in the financial management in response to the crisis, as opposed to the rigid and cumbersome realities of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework.
It is incredibly unfortunate that on the back of today’s budget announcement, Deputy Auditor General of South Africa, Tsakane Ratsela released shocking audit outcomes that irregular expenditure in municipalities grew from R25.2 billion to R32 billion for the 2018/19 year. Wasteful expenditure was R2 billion and unauthorized spending amounted to R11.9 billion.
While the increase for local government expenditure is welcomed and a relief to struggling municipalities, the state of health of financial management at our local government entities and councils are worrisome and leaves a lot to be desired.
COGTA must put in place resources and human infrastructure to manage finances accordingly and to cut corruption.
Indeed the state of our nation and of our economy is in crisis with further havoc wreaked to the economy by the global pandemic we face.
South Africans find themselves in a position they did not ask for, but as we tackle the biggest crisis since the dawn of our democracy, there is no more time to shift the blame and no more time to pass the buck and make excuses.
We are on a fiscal cliff and the future of our country depends on all role players in our society to cut corruption, improve financial management and poor administration. Careful consideration must be taken in all circumstances whereby tax payers’ money is being used.
The allocated conditional grant funding for the effective delivery of water and sanitation and transportation infrastructure is welcomed.
It is high time and indeed welcomed that the Finance Minister delivered a balanced, hopeful and constructive austere budget. Belt-tightening cannot be reduced to sloganeering this time around but will hopefully be adhered to.
The IFP believes that there is no other alternative but to phase out the control of the state, in terms of partially privatising State Owned Entities (SOEs) and implement stricter measures in which we are to appoint the best of what we have to offer in skills, expertise and knowledge in running effective, efficient and profit-making SOEs.
We do not need more plans, we need implementation and we need the Executive to walk its talk on getting things done and correcting the basics whilst simultaneously addressing our social issues and improving the lives and livelihoods of all South Africans.
The past disregard for financial management must be acted upon and all public services and administration personnel must make do with what has been allocated in the supplementary budget today.
It is clear that it is no longer business as usual in our country.
Inkosi Mzamo Buthelezi MP
IFP Deputy President and Spokesperson on Finance and Public Enterprises
072 390 6112