Hon. Deputy Speaker, Hon. Speaker,
Hon. Premier, and
The IFP welcomes Government Gazette No. 45 649 published on 17 December 2021, issued in terms of Section 25 of the Division of Revenue Act, 2021, allocating an amount of R3.802 million to the Provincial Emergency Housing Grant under Vote 8: Human Settlements, in KwaZulu-Natal, as tabled by the Hon. MEC for Finance this morning.
The IFP also welcomes Government Gazette No. 46 046 published on 16 March 2022, issued in terms of Sections 18 and 19 of the Division of Revenue Act, 2021, allocating an amount of R205.122 million to the Education Infrastructure Grant against Vote 5: Education in KwaZulu-Natal, also tabled by the Hon. MEC for Finance this morning.
When the MEC presented the KwaZulu-Natal 2022/23 Appropriation Bill at the beginning of the month, in our public response, the IFP pointed to several challenges affecting the Province, where funds are desperately needed. Housing development, also due to storm damage, is one such challenge affecting the province. However, in view of the recent media reports pointing to poor workmanship in Human Settlements at eThekwini Municipality, we must warn that the funds must be put in good use for the benefit of our people.
In the same vein, the Education Infrastructure Grant in KwaZulu-Natal has suffered a great deal due to budget cuts for the past two years. In some projects – where the Department had started construction for the upgrading of existing schools and building new schools – construction stopped because of these budget cuts. It is also well known that the Education MEC in the Province has repeatedly appealed for additional funding, due to the challenges facing Vote 5 in the Province. The additional funding to Vote 5 will therefore go a long way to ease the financial pressures of Vote 5. We want to encourage the two Departments to use these funds prudently for the benefit of the people of this Province.
Regrettably, the Province is losing funds: according to Government Gazette No. 45 954 published on 25 February 2022, issued in terms of Sections 18 and 19 of Division of Revenue Act, 2021, R47.691 million from KwaZulu-Natal is going to be re-allocated to Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North West, and Western Cape, as tabled by the MEC this morning. This is totally unacceptable.
The IFP has always complained about the chronic underspending of the Department of Transport in KwaZulu-Natal. This Department fails to spend funds, whilst the roads in KwaZulu-Natal are in a terrible state, with potholes posing a danger to road users; bridges washed away by storms that have not been repaired; and many other roads needing to be tarred. The transport challenges in KwaZulu-Natal are innumerable. Instead of forfeiting funds back to National, we should be receiving more funds to resolve our transport challenges. Hon. Speaker, this is a matter of grave concern to the people of KwaZulu-Natal and serious steps should be taken to make right that which is wrong in this Department.
The IFP supports the 2nd Adjustment Appropriation Bill 2022, with the regrets I have mentioned above.
I thank you.