Chris Hattingh MPL Democratic Alliance North West Provincial Leader
Disappointing Budget with no Provincial recovery in sight
The 2012 North West Budget as introduced and tabled by the NW MEC for Finance, Louisa Mabe, can be described as a disappointment, lacking of substance and direction.
The MEC lamented on the decreasing equitable share over the MTEF – the reality is that people are fleeing from the NW Province – to Gauteng en masse – Garankua and Merafong – after mass action and non-voting in an election – and to the Northern Cape – Portfolio committees were humiliated in the Taung area because of non-delivery with communities demanding to be demarcated into the financially smallest province in SA. People are fleeing the province!
The problem is highlighted by the people who do not wish to be part of the NW anymore – and is not the lack of equitable share – it is the lack of delivery, capacity, direction, planning, maintenance – in fact lack of everything that a government that is governing should be doing – the only thing that appears not be lacking in the NW is excuses for non-delivery.
AG reported in report on audit outcomes
1. the North West had the highest number of public entities that had not submitted their financial statements by the cut-off date
2. that the no North West Provincial Department could attain a clean audit
The Premier’s view that SA’s leading province’s success is built on the legacy of Ebrahim Rasool – what utter nonsense – Rasool was prematurely removed from his position AS WC Premier and Lynne Brown deployed to sort out the mess he left behind – If it is true that Rasool left more than a legacy of brown envelopes I challenge the NW to get Rasool’s advice to rescue the NW province from its collapsing state. The sound option however would be to adopt some of the efficient WC policies to turn the NW around by consulting the Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille.
The MEC carefully spinned herself out the serious non-delivery prevalent in North West Departments and Municipalities ignoring the Auditor General’s report that the NW failed to expend R584million of conditional grants. The MEC can show no results for the millions expended on futile capacity building in municipalities and on the implementation of the MFMA – the result after years : the Premier reported that more than 50% on NW Municipalities could not submit financial statements – situation is even worse in NW municipal entities
The MEC did not sufficiently address the widespread lack of capacity absent from major delivery departments such as Public Works, Roads and Transport and municipalities.The MEC ignored a recommendation from a recent forensic audit report that steps should be taken against all of the members of this Department’s (tender) bid evaluation committee and (tender) bid adjudication committee. This not only indicates the level of fraud, corruption and maladministration but also put efficient procurement in a state of paralysis in a Department earmarked to deliver the bulk of the MEC’s infrastructure promises.
An indication that the NW Provincial Government is already negating on the promises made by the President and reiterated by the Premier that 10 priority roads will be upgraded by SANRAL, appeared in the MEC’s speech that weeks -later now only six roads will now be prioritised for upgrading. The fact that the NW Province now formally abdicated its responsibility for road construction and maintenance to SANRAL is welcomed in view of the continuous shrinking of the Dept. of Public Works, Roads and Transport’s capacity and the horrific state of NW roads. The reduction in the number of roads to be upgraded is a problem – especially in view of the fact that no significant progress were made on NW roads during the last two years.
The DA welcomes the final withdrawal of funds from the ill-conceived Mafikeng Industrial Development Zone in which R100s of millions were dumped during the past decade. Nothing has come of the wild political promises made since the era of Popo Molefe as Premier ie that 28000 jobs would have been created at the MIDZ by 2008. In the period the Mafikeng airport was stripped from a Grade 7 International Airport to a basic Grade 1 Airport equivalent to a rural landing strip. The DA has be calling for the disbanding of the MIDZ for years.
The regression of the NW and the massive underspending, as reported by the Auditor General, will not stop until the NW Govt accepts full responsibility for the current State of the Province and adopts a comprehensive turnaround strategy.
It appears that after 18 years in office the ANC is rapidly losing its struggle to govern the NW. It appears to lack not only the capacity and energy but also the political will to turn the NW Province around.