Mpumalanga needs a budget that delivers

Anthony Benadie MPL

Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga

Tomorrow Mpumalanga finance MEC Madala Masuku will table the province’s 2014/15 provincial budget, and from the outset he is going to have to make it clear that provincial government departments will have to achieve more, with less.

With only R29,3 billion of the national fiscus heading for Mpumalanga, almost R5 billion less than 2013/14, the departments will have their work cut out for them to improve people’s access to a multitude of service delivery crises.

Given that premier David Mabuza provided no clear leadership nor direction to the provincial government during his State of the Province Address, the DA will expect no surprises from MEC Masuku, but we do hope to see clear some announcements.

While the lion’s share of the budget will probably once again go to health and education, we hope that the MEC will make it clear that both departments provide definitive deliverables, especially on infrastructure maintenance and the supply of critical necessities, and are held to targets and deadlines.

Although the MEC has less funds to distribute, the DA expresses its hope that a provincial jobs fund will be established, so as to subsidise and promote youth employment in the tourism and agriculture sectors.

So too do we hope to see clear strategies and interventions to oversee and monitor government expenditure, with a particular focus on:

  • Tight financial controls over departments’ procurement and spending;
  • Procurement processes, and ensuring that no officials or their immediate family members do business with government;
  • Holding heads of department accountable and ensuring that they stick to quarterly planning and reporting deadlines;
  • Monitoring mechanisms to ensure that departments oversee their own service providers and that goods and services are in fact provided;
  • Take definitive action against departments and supply chain officials who violate public finance legislation; and
  • Ensure that all service providers are paid within 30 days of invoice without fail.

This year’s budget will lay the groundwork for building a better life in Mpumalanga, and the provincial government cannot afford yet another year of aimlessly idling along.