IFP: UNDERSPENDING IN SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT MUST ADDRESSED BY THE KZN MEC

 

Hon Les Govender MPL
IFP KZN Spokesperson on Social Development
08 4488787/083 9744 894

 

The IFP urges KZN MEC of social Development, Nonhlanhla Khoza to address the elephant in the room in the Department of Social Development which is underspending its budget.

According to the Department of Social Development 2nd Quarter Report for 2019/20 Financial year the department has underspend its R3.5 billion budget by R1.18 billion or 52 percent as of 30 September 2019.

While there is a huge outcry from communities across the Province for social workers and social work delivery the department has underspend Compensation of Employees by R61.5 million due to vacant posts not being filled. The IFP is not surprised by this department’s underspending as it has under-spent its 2015/16 budget by R102.89 million mainly attributed to the non-filling of posts and delays in infrastructure projects. Again, the department under-spent in 2016/17 by R28.22 million, again giving the same excuses. Then, in 2017/2018 the department under-spent by a whooping R70.15 million, still blaming delays in filling vacant posts. Why are these vacancies not being filled? What are these delays preventing it to advertise posts?

Of concern to the IFP is that there are thousands of qualified unemployed social workers while the department has huge budget allocation for employing more social workers but it is not employing them. There can be no sound justification by departments to underspend in their allocated funds while our people are dying of malnutrition and hunger. It is unacceptable that much of the under expenditure is being attributed to failure to fill vacancies when there are millions of unemployed people out there. We are of the view that the failure to fill vacancies is due to this ANC-led government reserving posts for ANC cadres. There can be no excuse to under-spend money allocated towards improving the quality of life for our people.

Laws governing public finances make it an offence not to spend public funds. This is crime under the Public Finance Management Act. There has got to be consequences when the budget is underspent and the buck stops with the executive authority. They have to hold accounting authorities accountable.

We call upon the MEC to ensure the posts are filled by competent and experienced candidates, who in no way may have been involved in any corrupt activities. An independent body should be appointed to be in charge of shortlisting, interviewing and making recommendations as to which candidates are most suitable, so as to avoid the appointment of any politically favoured yet incompetent individuals.

Many of the Early Childhood Development Centres in the Province are in urgent need of maintenance and repairs but the department has only spent 10.1 percent of its planned maintenance. Should maintenance and repair work not take place urgently children’s lives are at risk.

The IFP further calls for better planning and management in provincial government departments and believes that in a province with such massive development backlogs, under spending must be declared a crime against the poor.

Contact:
Hon Les Govender MPL
IFP KZN Spokesperson on Social Development
08 4488787/083 9744 894