Hon. Otto B Kunene, MPL
KZN Legislature: 25 November 2021
Hon. Speaker, the Hon. Leader of the Official Opposition, the Hon. Members of the House, and Hon. MECs present.
The IFP is aware and notes the report on the Audit Outcomes which the Hon. Chairperson of STACOV presented to this House today.
We also note that some of the targets that were set could not be met, due to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. We commend the Legislature for trying its utmost to fulfil its mandate, even under the difficult conditions that our country and our Province find themself in.
The fact that the Legislature used virtual platforms to conduct its business through viz. TLTP, with Portfolio Committee meetings being held virtually, assisted the Legislature to mitigate the otherwise disastrous effects that the Covid-19 pandemic could have had on the work of this Legislature.
The use of virtual platforms resulted in the Legislature saving some funds.
The IFP noted that this Legislature managed to obtain a clean audit. This is commendable. The IFP hopes that there will come a time in our political discourse where it will be normal – as it should be. The fish cannot be praised for swimming: by saying this, I mean that prudent use of public funds is what should happen, as a matter of course.
We urge the Legislature to instill a culture of prudent use of public funds in all its personnel, so that what we achieved is maintained in all financial years to come. This culture should permeate to all Departments within the Provinces and Nationally.
The IFP understands the reasons advanced for budget cuts, which are forced on all government departments Nationally and Provincially, because of the precarious financial positions in which our country finds itself.
It is difficult to imagine how soon our country is going to recover from this financial dilemma it finds itself in where financial resources the country do not match the demands that require finances to resolve.
The Legislature had to experience a cut of R54m on this budget. There was also a cut on the budget relating to the compensation of employees amongst others.
These budget cuts are sure to have a negative effect on the overall functioning of the Legislature as can be seen under 1.4 of the 20/21 Unaudited Close-out Statements.
The IFP noted the under expenditure reported by the Hon Chairperson of STACOV. We understand the reasons behind this under expenditure and we are comforted to know that this under expenditure will be done away with by the time the financial year ends.
The IFP hopes that the roof repairs in this Chamber and that the work that is being done in the Albert Sisulu Administration Building will be completed soon.
It is a matter of concern that the plans to build a new Legislature precinct are still being mooted. When you consider the competing demands which the fiscus must contend with, it requires that rethink about this idea.
The IFP has consistently maintained that this project should not be undertaken: we believe that a great savings can be realised if the state-of-the-art old KwaZulu-Natal Legislature Buildings in Ulundi could be utilised. Our wish is that we should focus the expenditure on areas of greatest need to make a dent on the poverty that many of our people find themselves in. For this reason, the IFP will give qualified support for this Report during the trying time of voting on this report.
It is pleasing to note that of the 16 Audit findings, nine have been resolved, whilst seven are reported to be in progress and to be resolved by the end of the financial year.
We are also appreciative of the initiatives taken by the Legislature to comply with the Legislation on Political Party Funding, which was introduced this year.
We are pleased to note that the Legislature has not incurred unauthorised expenditure and that it posted a surplus on its books.
The fact that assets and liabilities have strengthened the Legislature balance sheet, with some funds being unspent at the end of the financial year, and the fact that these unspent funds, as per the Financial Management Act of Parliament and the Provincial Legislature Act, will be retained by the institution, is welcomed.
We record our appreciation to the political and administrative leadership and the whole staff compliment of the Legislature, for working hard to ensure that this Legislature continues to meet its Legislative mandate.
An effective Legislature will ensure that Hon. Members of this House are able to undertake their responsibilities of serving the people of this Province well.
I thank you Hon. Speaker.