JOHANN KROG, MPP
DA KZN SPOKESPERSON FINANCE
KWAZULU-NATAL Finance MEC, Ina Cronje’s failure to address budgetary allocations for some of the ambitious plans announced by provincial Premier, Zweli Mkhize, as part of the KZN State of the Province Address, are cause for concern.
Put simply – the address does not talk to the budget and it remains unclear how our province will provide complementary finance to certain projects. The Premier’s plan to ensure that Durban becomes a maritime and shipping repair hub is not mentioned. There is also no detail provided on special economic zones or any mention of the financing of the proposed high speed rail inks within the province. Furthermore, the ANC’s attempt to a claim credit for increased funding for maintenance of roads, schools and other infrastructure within KZN is an exercise in political hypocrisy. For fifteen years the DA has watched as KwaZulu-Natal infrastructure crumbles owing to the neglect of successive provincial governments. The ANC cannot now suddenly claim credit for something which has been under-funded for so long and which must now be rebuilt.
The DA looks forward to the MEC fleshing out the details of the new provincial growth plan. It’s easy to say all the right things but it remains unclear which programmes within the budget will ensure that delivery takes place. Concerns over the provincial budget statements – which we believe lack sufficient emphasis on service delivery – are as follows;
– Departments appear to view meetings and seminars as part of their performance outcomes when what our province needs is housing, a quality road network, good schools with good teachers and hospitals with the right facilities and effective personnel.
– The DA views the massive budget increases within the Office of the Premier and the Legislature during the past 5 years over the MTEF period as a worrying factor given that these budgets are not geared for service delivery to the poor.
– Infrastructure development plans will not get off the ground unless government makes a serious commitment to implementing the “no work no pay policy” as the only bargaining tool. Salaries were the main reason for the curtailment in infrastructure spending during the previous financial year.
On the positive side, the DA welcomes the undertaking by MEC Cronje, to ensure that money is spent wisely during the forthcoming financial year, along with emphasis on infrastructure development and measures to combat fraud. We also welcome the budget for a surplus of a billion rand.