Johann Krog, MPP
DA KZN Spokesperson on Finance
The Democratic Alliance rejects outright a proposal by KZN Finance MEC, Ina Cronje, to establish a new office park for provincial government departments at a cost of billions of rands.
The proposal forms part of the MEC’s budget speech earlier this week, with R9 million set to be spent on a feasibility study. This smacks of wasteful expenditure.
There are several reasons why the DA is firmly opposed to this plan;
* The KZN Development Plan places Education at the fore in terms of priority. Given the massive challenges in this portfolio, money should not be spent on fancy new offices
* The development of such a complex will create more space, resulting in increased staff numbers. This is exactly what provincial government should be working to reduce. KZN’s budget must be spent on infrastructure and service delivery.
* Space is not the problem – how it is being utilised is. Departmental buildings are being used as training venues for civil servants. The DA has warned provincial government about this waste of infrastructure.
* Departmental leases are long-term and will not conclude simultaneously. Should they be cancelled, there will be major penalties. The other alternative is an office park which stands half empty for years.
* Like Pretoria, the Pietermaritzburg CBD relies on provincial government to ensure its livelihood. Instead of building an entirely new facility from scratch provincial government should buy and refurbish existing historical buildings. This is a cost-effective approach which was successfully done with the Masters Office.
KwaZulu-Natal has far more pressing needs than a new office park for government employees. Our roads are appalling. We need more clinics and our schools need libraries, halls, toilet facilities, laboratories and sports fields. What we definitely don’t need is an expensive new administrative centre, filled with a bloated civil service which takes inefficiency to new levels. This plan must be stopped before millions are wasted.