Mpumalanga’s budget has no story to tell

Anthony Benadie MPL

Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga

The DA notes the 2014/15 annual budget tabled by Mpumalanga finance MEC Madala Masuku this afternoon. We view the budget a complacent continuation of the ANC’s “business as usual” approach.

The MEC made no major new announcements and did not table a single initiative to create jobs in Mpumalanga.

We welcome the increased spend on education, and echo MEC Masuku’s statements that it is to be used to build on the achievements of previous years. However, the increased funding should be used to pay attention to creating a dignified education environment, especially in the rural areas where learners are the most neglected.

We note with concern the significant R185,3 million increase to the Department of Community Safety, Security and Liaison. Is this because the department is footing the bill for the questionable tender between the department and GNT Security, for which former HOD Thulani Sibuyi was dismissed and criminally charged?

While the MEC dedicated much of the latter part of his speech over the strength of public finance legislation and how this curbs corruption, the devil as always, lies in its implementation.

Under the tenure of premier DD Mabuza very little action was taken against accounting officers for transgressing this legislation, and in many cases, the individuals concerned were protected and promoted.

MEC Masuku’s budget failed to address:

  • The implementation of the youth wage subsidy and how this would significantly reduce youth unemployment;
  • The introduction of tight financial controls over municipalities spending to prevent their continued collapse;
  • Adequate infrastructure spending to ensure the delivery of basic bulk services to rural areas;
  • The commercialisation of Mpumalanga’s provincial parks, which would greatly stimulate economic investment and create jobs; and
  • The need for a sustainable agricultural development funding mechanism which would allow emerging farmers access to mainstream markets and provide stability to the entire sector.

The only story the MEC had to tell was that this was his last budget speech before moving to parliament, and that life in Mpumalanga will carry on as usual.