NDP “battle plan” in war against joblessness

Mike Moriarty MPL

Spokesperson on Finance

The Fourth Quarter financial report of the Gauteng Provincial Government shows a much improved financial position in the last three months of the 2012/13 financial year.

The province collected a record amount of R3 946.3 million between January and March this year, R166 million more than the adjusted budget and R328 million more than was budgeted this time last year. However, much of this came in the form of interest on unspent moneys in the bank. The Treasury accrued R95m more in interest than was originally budgeted.

Ideally, the province should be spending that which is transferred to it by the national government. In a sense, the province is being rewarded for not doing its job properly. This should not be so. The province should rather be penalised.

On the face of it the departments have spent 99% of their budgets, which sounds good. However, one must query whether this was spent productively or frivolously. But the income of R78.7 billion is R4.99 billion greater than the total expenditure of R73.76 billion. What’s worse is that not all of the difference is sitting in the bank. More than half of it has been spent in unauthorised and accrued expenditure from previous years.

Indeed, the province’s Treasury reported that R500 million worth of expenditure will have to be rolled over to the new financial year purely because the administration could not process invoices in time. This will impact negatively on service delivery.

This kind of money could provide an education to 46 000 learners in our schools or could provide for 165 000 patient days in our provincial hospitals. That’s an awful lot of services that can’t be provided this coming year purely because of bad financial controls.

We applaud the fact that 96% of this year’s adjusted infrastructure budget of R9 102 million will be spent. This is a welcome turnaround from previous years. But we note that the budget for infrastructure spending will not be increasing over the next three years in real terms. This is despite backlogs in road maintenance, health facilities, schools and housing. It must be noted that infrastructure spending brings job opportunities.

It is no good sitting with R2 428 million in the bank, which is what the Fourth Quarter Report shows. Opportunities to provide more job-producing infrastructure is being lost.

The provincial government must make this money work for the people of Gauteng. This is certainly what the DA would do if we were in charge.

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