Friday 21 April 2023: Pietermaritzburg
Hon. VF Hlabisa: KZN Leader of the Official Opposition (IFP)
Media and honoured guests,
On behalf of the IFP, I firstly want to take this opportunity to convey our condolences to the families of the four male persons who were brutally killed yesterday in KwaMashu B Section. This painful instance follows a number of mass killings in the Province. May the souls of the four deceased rest in peace.
Hon. Chairperson, our Province and country have become crime and murder scenes. Unfortunately, this negatively impacts the economy. Despite our hopelessness and despair, we remain hopeful that the killers – even in this instance – will be arrested. The IFP joins the call that guns held illegally by individuals in our communities must collected.
The Finance Department is the heartbeat, the engine room, and the powerhouse of our government. It has a responsibility for efficient, accountable, and credible fiscal and financial management. It is something worth noting and commending – that the Treasury in our Province has lived up to this expectation. The consistent clean audits by Treasury are also a demonstration of leading by example and remaining the centre of excellence in fiscal and financial management. We also express our appreciation for progress made towards Operation Clean Audit, as eight departments achieved a clean audit.
The report presented by the Treasury Department to fill vacant posts is noted.
Hon. Chairperson, it is accepted that in order to give effect to cost-cutting measures in the Province, different departments are supposed to apply for approval from the Office of the Premier and Treasury for the filling of posts in their departments. But sometimes departments have vacant critical positions for too long, while waiting for approval from the authorities for them to fill their vacant positions. These delays must be attended to because they hamper service delivery.
In a spirit of good governance and inter-governmental relations, the IFP also expresses appreciation for the support the Department gives to municipalities to develop credible budgets and ensure that money allocated to them is effectively and efficiently utilised. Treasury must intensify its efforts to achieve sound financial management in the municipalities of the Province. The audit outcomes of some of the municipalities for 2021/22 provide great cause for concern.
Municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal are struggling financially and operationally. The IFP pleads with the Department to consider playing this role more in a way that will benefit our municipalities in their areas of need and weakness. Most of the municipalities in the Province are rural, and suffer a lot of brain-drain. Most municipalities do not have a rate base and rely solely on equitable share funding and government grants. This should be a situation that attracts the necessary attention of our provincial Treasury.
Besides the Department of Finance exercising this role alone, our own provincial Portfolio Committees on Finance and COGTA must also account for this situation. This Province remains short-changed in the Equitable Share Allocations, which are based on provincial population figures that are not realistic for KwaZulu-Natal.
The province has thousands – if not millions – of people who are migrant workers in Gauteng. When population figures are recorded, these people are counted in the Gauteng Province, which disadvantages KwaZulu-Natal in the Equitable Share Allocations. We also have a problem of cross-border services, which KwaZulu-Natal has to offer as unfunded mandates. If these issues are not attended to and resolved amicably, it will still take a very long time for KZN to recover properly from the financial woes we are experiencing.
Hon. Chairperson, with all humility and respect to the Premier, the MEC for Finance and the Royal Family: history will judge us if we do not set records straight. The payment of Amakhosi did not start with the ANC.
The payment of Amakhosi started during the time of King Dinuzulu. Even the IFP cannot claim that credit. Shame on you, ANC, to claim a false and empty credit – saying that you are the ones who introduced salary payments to Amakhosi. The erstwhile KwaZulu Government made it better and even encouraged Amakhosi to go to school and pursue qualifications to better equip themselves as leaders of their traditional communities.
I want to pay tribute to Inkosi Nyanga Ngubane of KwaZashuke. It is Inkosi Nyanga Ngubane who, in 2001, initiated and introduced the training of Amakhosi at the University of Zululand on a number of courses: conflict management, land administration, community development, public finance, leadership and fellowship.
I agree with the words said by the then MEC for Traditional Affairs, Hon. Nomusa Dube, and the then-Speaker of the Legislature, Hon. Peggy Nkonyeni, who said when Inkosi Nyanga Ngubane died in 2010, “Inkosi Nyanga Ngubane was instrumental in ensuring that the KwaZulu-Natal government’s efforts to strengthen the institution of traditional leadership became successful. He was a visionary leader who will be missed”.
The issue of the Royal Palaces must be corrected for the sake of history and the Zulu Nation.
The Head of the six Royal Palaces of the late King Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, is the reigning King, His Majesty Misuzulu KaZwelithini. The late king revived Ondini,which is the Royal Palace of King Cetshwayo, revived KwaDlamahlahla of King Solomon, revived oSuthu of King Dinuzulu, revived KwaKhethomthandayo of King Bhekuzulu, revived KwaKhangelamankengana for King Zwelithini, and revived Enyokeni for Queen of OkaMsweli. These Palaces did not belong to the past Kings, but to the King reigning at the time of revival.
Therefore, it is not correct to say the Royal Palaces only belonged to the deceased King not the reigning King.
The IFP supports approval of the Budget for the year 2023/24 for the Department of Finance.
I thank you.