Anthony Benadie MPL
Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga
The DA notes the 2013/14 provincial budget by MEC Madala Masuku, but remains concerned over its lack of vision, detail and initiative. In essence the budget tabled echoes business as usual. Following Premier David Mabuza’s State of the Province Address, the DA voiced its scepticism over the implementation of his promises, and MEC Masuku’s budget shows that our concerns were not unfounded.
The MEC will merely keep government afloat and gave no indication of any plans to improve peoples’ lives. While infrastructure development should be government’s top priority, it is shocking that health and education infrastructure development grants to Mpumalanga will be reduced – not because of a lack of financial resources, but because the provincial administration’s lack of capacity to effectively manage, oversee and complete infrastructure development projects. MEC Masuku made little reference to job creation, especially for the youth, with the exception of establishing a youth development unit in the Office of the Premier. Furthermore, the R5 million earmarked for the appointment of 127 Community Development Workers is nothing more than a farce to employ loyal ANC cadres in municipal wards across the province. We do however welcome the MEC’s announcement that and additional R9,7 million will be made available to absorb social work graduates whose studies were funded by government. This will bolster government’s social work programme as well as create sustainable jobs in the sector.
The DA welcomes MEC Masuku’s admission of the crippled state of our municipalities, but we expected more details on bringing many back from the brink. We welcome the announcement that more will be done to bring financial reporting up to speed, but we maintain that the devil will lie in the implementation of these promises. The DA will closely monitor and analyse individual departments’ annual budgets as they are presented, and will pronounce whether government is truly committed to bringing a better life to all.