Gauteng Mini-Budget: DA proposes budget for jobs

Mike Moriarty MPL

Spokesperson on Finance

The DA in Gauteng urges Gauteng Finance MEC Mandla Nkomfe to demonstrate bold fiscal leadership by cutting down on luxury spending, curbing corruption and addressing high unemployment in this year’s mini-budget.

The MEC will table the mini-budget tomorrow, Thursday 21 October, at a special sitting of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.

If the MEC is responsible and sensitive to the needs of the people in our province, he tackle the lack of jobs decisively through prudent financial management.

Budget for Jobs
Incentivising job creation and economic growth through targeted budget interventions should be the MEC’s first priority. With 1.7 million people without jobs in Gauteng – almost half a million more than when Premier Mokonyane took office – this is absolutely critical.

The DA proposes key short-term interventions to turn around this provincial government’s poor performance on job creation

Empower small businesses
Studies show that the greatest number of jobs will come through the emergence of hundreds of new small businesses. But the budget of the the Department of Economic Development is entirely misdirected.

The budget for this department and the various agencies that are supported by it must be re-prioritized to give real assistance to small business: i.e. useful assistance.

The provincial government can do more towards cutting red tape and enhancing institutional and financial support programmes. The provincial government can also work with big business to identify and foster opportunities wherein small businesses can provide input products into the supply chain of the larger businesses.

The most effective boost the provincial government can give to small businesses is to pay them on time.

Infrastructure for Jobs
By spending real money on real projects like building more schools, more healthcare facilities, and better roads, jobs can be created.

Crumbling road infrastructure and a lack of decent, affordable and reliable public transport that serves all the people of Gauteng is the second biggest obstacle to business investment in the province.

The lack of investment stunts economic growth and prevents jobs from being created.

The MEC must crack the whip on the broken promises of infrastructure spending and intervene to increase the actual investment on infrastructure, in particular in road maintenance and upgrades.

Trim the fat and cut spending on luxuries
The Gauteng Provincial Government must cut excessive spending on air travel, car hire, accommodation, catering and entertainment and redirect the savings to job creation efforts.

The MEC must introduce austerity measures to clamp down on the Gauteng government’s R534.240 million entertainment, catering and travel and subsistence bill.

Punish corruption, recover wasted money and hold officials accountable
The MEC must not just talk tough on fruitless, wasteful, irregular and unauthorised expenditure, but make sure that those guilty of such misdeeds are brought to book and the money recovered.

Gauteng incurred a further half a billion Rand in fruitless and wasteful expenditure in the 2012/13 financial year. Coupled with R5.8 billion irregular spending and R462 million unauthorised expenditure, this represents a huge loss of money that should have been spent on incentivising job creation.

Tomorrow, the MEC has a key opportunity to budget for jobs.

The mini budget for Gauteng must demonstrate a commitment to leaner, cleaner government that produces a business environment that encourages investment, boosts economic growth and creates jobs.