The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) welcomes the announcement by the KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA), Siboniso Duma, that no funding will be allocated to the SAMA Awards, allegedly to the tune of R28 million.
This only happened as a result of a huge outcry and public sector condemnation of what would have amounted to wasteful expenditure.
The IFP was outraged that this Department could even consider spending such an exorbitant amount of money on one night of glitz and glamour, when citizens of our province languish in poverty due to unemployment.
The EDTEA Portfolio Committee was not taken on board with regard to the procurement of funding for this event, particularly considering that there is a Treasury cost-cutting directive. It would appear that the MEC and certain officials who do his bidding take unilateral decisions to move funds between programmes and entities as and when it suits them. They seem to forget that these are public funds, which are subject to the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). It is mindboggling as to how the Department is able to reprioritise its budget at the drop of a hat – when there is no emergency – and decide to fund an event with such a huge budget.
Recently there have been many allegations of dubious dealings within this Department and its entities. The Head of Department, Mr Nkontwana, suddenly left the Department recently, without any explanations from the MEC. For over a decade, the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife has been in shambles, with staff being appointed before an organogram being finalised and instances of assets going missing with no one being held accountable. In addition, senior appointments of officials in some entities have been made under dubious circumstances, since proper procedures have not been followed.
The IFP believes that there is need for an urgent Portfolio Committee Meeting to discuss issues concerning this Department. The MEC needs to take the Portfolio Committee and the citizens of the province into his confidence and explain what is going on.
Hon. Les Govender MPL
IFP Member of the Edtea Portfolio Committee, KZN Legislature
083 974 4894