Anthony Benadie, MPL
DA Provincial Leader and Spokesperson on Finance
Note: Address by Anthony Benadie MPL, DA Provincial Leader and Spokesperson on Finance, to the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature on 28 November 2014, during the debate on the Adjusted Appropriation Bill, 2014.
The DA notes the tabling of the Mpumalanga Adjustment Appropriation Bill of 2014 on the 18 November 2015; however the DA is not convinced that this adjustment will have the desired service delivery effects on communities at large.
Hon. Speaker, it is not looking good for South Africa. Since the beginning of 2014, the economy has grown by 0% overall, while our African counterparts continue to reap the rewards of sound fiscal and monetary policy. South Africa has lost the title of the first economy on the continent and we have the present administration to blame, and no one else.
The policy direction of this administration has failed to create an environment that nurtures small business and encourages big business. Infrastructure is falling apart; the electricity grid is under pressure, forcing dodgy deals to be made with the Russians. One day its willing buyer willing seller, and the next it’s we want 50% of the farm land. What rational local or foreign individuals and companies would want to invest their money in a state that doesn’t know where they are going, I know I wouldn’t.
Hon. Speaker, how much longer is this government going to continue to blame weak global economic conditions for our dismal performance? The ANC government needs to look within and realise that it is because of their contradicting policies that we find ourselves in this situation. The ANC needs to realise it is through their policies that inequality levels are worse now than they were in 1994.
It is through ANC policy that the provincial unemployment rate sits at a whopping 42.2% as of the 2nd quarter, using the expanded definition of which 75% are the youth. It is through ANC policy that the provincial economic growth rate has been revised downward to only 1.3% for this year. It is because of policies like cadre deployment that this province had irregular expenditure amounting to over R 1 Billion for the previous financial year.
Looking at past trends, I will say this again, the DA is not convinced that this appropriation will have the desired positive effect on the people of Mpumalanga.
Hon. Speaker, Nelson Mandela once said, “Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will”. With that said, the people of Mpumalanga are still looking for that freedom, and government needs to create the conditions for this freedom to be attained, but alas, it is still not yet Uhuru.
The DA notes the extra R17 million that this Legislature will be receiving, and we hope that it will be used improve institutional efficiency and not for catering purposes. The extra R54 million given to CoGTA needs to utilised effectively. In order for success to prevail, we need our government officials to be capacitated and not simply hold an ANC membership card.
We are concerned about the decrease of R15 million for DARDLEA and hope that it will not have a negative effect on support to emerging farmers. This budget cut proves that the ANC does not take the empowerment of emerging farmers seriously, and only uses them opportunistically during election periods to get votes.
The increase of R 47,9 million to Public Works will have no positive effect of the department. Considering past trends, I can confidently stand here today and say that Public Works will not even achieve 70% of their targets, which begs the question of where does the money go, because our roads and infrastructure are in a horrid condition.
Hon. Speaker, the DA supports the net increase of R598.4 million towards the Provincial Fiscal Framework, and as such the Mpumalanga Adjustments Appropriation Bill, 2014 but with certain conditions.
Let this money be used to improve the lives of our people, to support small business, let it be used to empowered the youth, women and people with disabilities and let it be used to capacitate government officials. This money must not be used to line the pockets of well-connected cadres who are in good standing with the right faction. I’d like to leave you with a quote from Benjamin Franklin, which reads “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”