Sizwe Mchunu, MPP
Leader of the DA in the KZN Legislature
There are very few adjustments that we are going to comment on or oppose, partly because we have had very little time to interrogate the adjustment thoroughly and we do urge the planning committee to ensure that we are not placed in this position again.
Having said that, we do congratulate the Treasury for the innovative spread-sheet which enables us to track the effects of the adjustments on our funds.
Our business in this house revolves around three elements:
Firstly we are responsible for the expenditure of funds, and MEC Cronje has gained our confidence both in terms of the transparency of her reports, but also because of her clear and hard line on reducing wasteful expenditure and her repeated call for value for money. So we are happy with the money side of our business presented in this report.
The second element is management, the role of all the legislative structure to carry through the programmes effectively. This is not the platform to elaborate on this.
The third element is time, and it is here that we see our current policies and programmes failing. In the business world we have the concept of capital turnover: the more often a company can turn over its working capital in a trading cycle, the more profit is made. If we apply that analogy to our business we are not doing well. We are simply not in a big enough hurry to fix the profit drivers under our care. We can blame officials for merely occupying a job rather than rushing to realize a vision, but we also need to examine our macro policies.
The most depressing aspect of MEC Cronje’s report is news of a freeze on expenditure over the next 3 years, particularly in the face of continued inability to fix our education. The DA has always supported responsible budgeting, but we also support anti-cyclical spending on infrastructure. It is hard to understand the lack of urgency in fixing this problem now with deficit spending rather than trying to reduce the debt ratio for future benefits to the economy. We have argued in the past for reallocation of our allocated funds to this problem but we have also called for another R2billion pa from national.
The Hon Duma spoke yesterday on using criteria outside of the PFMA when assessing the success of departments. We have sympathy with that view. Fiscal discipline needs to be balanced against the need for the timeous resolution of essential structural fractures in our government. We hope he will have a chat with MEC Cronje on this point.
To the details of the report, the DA has the following reservations:
We will be calling a division in Vote 3 around the allocation of R34m to Youth ambassadors. We have never had a convincing reason for this initiative and until we do we will oppose what we see as wasteful expenditure.
We object or have concerns around the following:
1. The annual gap between budgeted % salary increases and those that actually are given at national level, as well as the shortfalls that occur between actual OSD costs and reimbursements from national. It is quite inexplicable that members of the same government can’t sort this out.
2. The inadequate allocation of R3million to the Integrity Management unit in vote 1.
3. The continued funding of both the Makahatini Development project and Mjindi farming project is bothersome without evidence of measureable returns.
4. The expenditure of R25 million on a new asset management system for Public Works begs the question of the wasted expenditure on the previous system, Premis.