FS Budget: All pie in the sky

Peter Frewen

DA MPL in the Free State Provincial Legislature

Note:  This is a speech delivered by Peter Frewen during the budget debate in Legislature.

Speaker

What you sow you will reap and what the ANC government sowed over the past few years they are now reaping. Huge amounts of money wasted now the Province is faced with critical shortages in key departments. .

The opening of the Legislature used to take place in this building – then it was moved to Vista and one year the opening cost a staggering R14 million.

It is now proudly announced that the 12 roads have been completed – it was a 23 road project announced with great fanfare in Bultfontein three years ago – all 23 should have been completed.

Millions have been spent on the Fish Hatchery at Gariep Dam – to date twelve jobs have been created and not a single fish has been delivered.

The Vrede Dairy project is a bottomless pit into which money is poured and it is almost certain that this project will fail along with all the others.

Letlaka Communications – millions spent on a website and free newspapers promoting the government. It is interesting to note that the advertising budget in the Office of the Premier has been cut from R13.2 to R3.4 million and the budget for Communication Services has been cut from R43.5 to R31.4 million.

Unicore in Kroonstad – R10 million lent interest free for fifteen years and 300 jobs would be created – the money has been lent but not a single job has been created.

Philip Sanders – R150 million spent and very little income generated – a huge waste of money.

The splitting of the department of Local Government and Housing – costing R73 million a year and still not completed due to a lack of funds and the Human Settlements department is in chaos.

We would like more clarity on the R80 million due to be spent by Public Works on security at government buildings and the annual maintenance cost of R15 million to maintain the systems while there is a shortfall of R112 million to pay municipalities for water and lights for government buildings.

Last year the DA voted against the budgets of the Health and Education departments saying that funds allocated were not enough. The DA was assured that there were enough funds and that both these departments had to get their management in order. Well, they did not.

The Department of Health starts this financial year off with accruals amounting to R700 million and virtually no increase in budget allocation. The fact that the MEC states that this department needs an injection of R4 billion to be able to function properly shows what a mess this department is in. To enable salaries to be paid this department has had to cut the budget on goods and services – so do not be at all surprised if this department is soon unable to purchase food for patients or have the funds to purchase fuel to keep ambulances on the road – this will happen sooner rather than later.

The Department of Education is in an even worse situation. This department is still projecting to overspend by R1.2 billion in the current financial year and virtually no increase in the budget for the next year. Once this department has put aside enough funds to pay salaries it does not have the funds to purchase text books for the 2015 school year. But we may not need text books because the department can only pay over the allocations for schools for the first quarter of the financial year – for April, May and June – after that schools must find their own source of funding to be able to pay for water and lights and other expenses. More pressure on the municipalities if schools cannot pay water and lights.

Last year the DA on numerous occasions asked the department to show how they would come in under budget but to no avail – no plan has ever been put forward.

And through this whole crisis the MEC for Education has not said a single word – except to take a swipe at Helen Zille in the newspapers.

Well, Helen Zille does not have to go to National Treasury on bended knee to beg for money to keep the water and lights on in schools;

Helen Zille does not have to go to National Treasury on bended knee to ask for money to buy text books for next year;

Helen Zille does not have to go to National Treasury on bended knee to ask for money to have food and medicine in the hospitals;

Because where the DA governs we govern well with the resources available to us.

If you want the water and lights to stay on in the schools,

If you want your children to have text books in the schools,

If you want the hospitals to have food for the patients,

If you want the clinics to have medicine for the patients,

Then on the 7th of May you will have to vote for the DA.