Chris Hattingh MPL
Provincial Leader Democratic Alliance North-West
The North West Provincial Budget can be described as an ill-planned business as usual budget.
Apart from some very obvious attempts to appease agitated communities the lack of understanding of the delivery and capacity crisis, that has become endemic within the NW, overwhelms the budget.
The desperate chase to increase the matric pass rate continues in ignorance of the decline in the quality of the NW matric results. There is no focus on improving the quality of education with an increased salary budget absorbing most of the NW budget increases. There is further no attempt to address the lack of NW capacity and planning which saw the NW decreasing its output on infrastructural projects year after year. The MEC for Finance attempted to appease certain communities:
In a move reminiscent of the aftermath of the Skierlik tragedy where houses were promised to the community (and delivered only after six years) the MEC for Finance announced that R70million will be allocated to Housing in Marikana.
Similarly R236 million over the next 3 years has been allocated to Mahikeng for water, sanitation and rehabilitation projects. This annual allocation, augmented with the usual fiscal dumping at the end of the financial year into Mahikeng, does not take cognizance of the developing water crisis in other NW local authorities where no less than nine Municipalities suffered disrupted water provision during the past months. Incidentally, Mahikeng, in ignorance of receiving by far the biggest slice of the local government budget for years, also saw some of the most violent lack of delivery protests in the Province.
The third NW “appeasement project” is to focus the budget on the Taung Skull Project and to poverty alleviation projects in Taung – an area in which demands to be included into the Northern Cape, are becoming louder every year.
The lack of capacity and planning, a business as usual attitude and the inability of the North West Government to deliver on crucial infrastructure and developmental projects will see to it that the 2013-2014 budget will even have fewer positive outcomes for the NW community than the current budget.