The Inkatha Freedom Party in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) welcomes the MTBPS and the Provincial Economic Review Outlook (PERO) for the 2020/21 Financial Year, as presented by Finance and e-Government MEC, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko.

This Budget reflects a reasonable and cogent balance of priorities, given the prevailing circumstances, where the Gauteng economy is expected to contract by 8.4% this year, due to Covid-19 induced economic downturn.

We applaud attempts by the Gauteng government to cushion the blow of the downturn and keep people employed through setting aside R1.3 billion for employment creation and protection in the province. Most of this will be spent on Education, which received R1.1 billion for hiring education assistants, amongst others. Health is allocated R47.4 million, to hire enrolled and auxiliary nurses; R77.8 million is allocated to Social Development to provide salary top-ups for additional compliance support duties and employment risk support. Roads and Transport will receive R45.5 million for job-creation through road maintenance.

We welcome the shifting of funds towards health spending, in particular for the provision of PPEs. The need to protect the lives of health workers on the frontline of the fight against Covid-19 cannot be overemphasised, as the pandemic is still with us. We also welcome the rolling over of budgets in Education and Human Settlements to make way for the unpaid invoices, which affect the sustainability of many small businesses.

The Government focus on support for the development of Special Economic Zones and Industrial Parks is also commended. With that said, the IFP also urges the Gauteng government to work on improving the inclusion of township economies, and the empowerment of women and youth, by ensuring more support and funding programmes are targeted towards township SMMEs. This will go a long way in making the Gauteng economy more inclusive and gearing it up for long-term growth.

The IFP noted the emphasis on infrastructure-led recovery and localisation. This, like many plans before it, has been talked about for a while, however, it remains unimplemented. That needs to change. During this period of recession, Gauteng citizens need to hear less talk about plans and see more action by the government to get them back to work, and have businesses up-and-running. In this regard, infrastructure projects should be expedited, considering the need for meeting statutory compliance requirements, as well as fighting corruption.

Bonginkosi Dhlamini
IFP Gauteng Chairperson, MPL
082 565 3571