Anthony Benadie MPL
Provincial Leader Mpumalanga
Premier David Mabuza’s blatant attempt to shift the blame for government under-spending to the ‘shoulders’ of Departmental HODs and MECs, is grossly opportunistic to say the least. It is clear that the premier is desperately trying to create an illusion of holding his cabinet and administration to account, when he has continuously turned a blind eye to government’s delivery failure.
Premier Mabuza can’t act surprised now, that his administration will surrender over R500 million back to treasury, when he failed to address it when the actual under-spending was taking place. In fact he must accept responsibility for it.
The under-spending by Mpumalanga government departments, relate to their failure to spend over R574 million on infrastructure development projects during the 2011/12 financial year. These facts are recorded in the annual reports of departments being released now.
From his reaction to the revelation, it is clear that Premier Mabuza and his cabinet did not conduct sufficient financial management during the period under review. The real question should be why he did not act earlier, when he would have had access to monthly and quarterly financial and performance reports during the financial year in question. So too, one wonders what his cabinet was up to during 2011/12 and what was being discussed at government imbizos during this time – as it was clearly not government performance and spending.
It is disgraceful that Mabuza’s helm over government is so weak, that he was unable to intervene in the looming under-spending and that he failed to act when he could. His sudden professions of dissatisfaction comes a little too late.
The departments of health and education are the main culprits and will be surrendering R322,9 million and R176,6 million respectively.
The failure by the Department of Health to implement 119 of its planned 221 programmes, and the Department of Education’s failure to implement 104 of 159 programmes, is indicative that serious interventions in these departments are required.
With only months remaining in the current legislature term, time is running out for Mabuza. Unless government performance is urgently turned around, Mabuza and his collective may very well be remembered for worsening the quality of life for Mpumalanga’s citizens.