Anthony Benadie MPL
Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga
The Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency (MEGA) has failed dismally in its mandate of being the province’s economic growth engine, and should rather than being premier David Mabuza’s preferred driver of key service delivery issues, be dissolved.
Upon reading the Auditor-General’s findings In MEGA’s 2011/12 annual report, one is struck by the shocking state of the entity’s financial reporting, with almost every aspect of its finances, assets and liabilities not properly accounted for, providing the AG insufficient evidence to form an audit opinion.
In effect, MEGA has become a liability to this province, as it cannot account for every cent that it was given to promote the province’s growth, nor could its senior management (according to the AG’s findings) provide the necessary leadership and direction to fully implement its planned programmes and objectives.
Year upon year, hundreds of millions of rand are poured into the agency, without the desired outcomes. The year under review was no different, as most of objectives set out in its seven programmes were not achieved – with the blame being shifted to the lack of financial resources, lack of capacity and of course, the non-finalisation of the merger between MEGA, the MDAC and the MHFC.
It is laughable that a merger would take years to complete, while economic development MEC Norman Mokoena fires an entire board and has a new one appointed at the drop of a hat. Furthermore it is ridiculous to blame non-performance on the lack of capacity, when MEC Mokoena insists that senior management and the board are suited to the task and that MEGA is a roaring success. If that is the case, why would this agency not be able to give proper account of the financial resources given it, but wants more to rectify a problem that doesn’t seem to exist?
The truth of the matter is that senior management and the board serve at the pleasure of MEC Norman Mokoena, (and of course, premier Mabuza), and that very little job performance is demanded, other than blind loyalty to their political masters.
While both the premier and MEC Mokoena may believe that that MEGA remains the key driver of economic growth, the reality is that the agency has failed in its mandate, and it should be dissolved.
While it may be tempting to devise and implement yet another turnaround strategy, Mpumalanga simply cannot afford to wait year after year and hope to see definitive economic growth, sound foreign and local investment, as well as jobs being created.