DA objects to Free State Adjustment Budget

David van Vuuren, MPL

DA Chief Whip in the Free State Provincial Legislature

The DA today objected to the Free State Provincial Government’s adjustment budget. The province finds itself on the edge, desperately staring into a financial abyss.

Our two main concerns are with the Department of Health and the Department of Education, both departments are struggling financially to meet their obligations due to massive accumulated accruals. Accruals for Health tops almost R800 million and for Education a staggering R1,2 billion.

Both the departments of Health and Education are functioning in the past, using resources in the current financial year to settle debt incurred from previous years.

We are also concerned that the office of the Premier continues to receive additional funding. In this adjustment an additional R33,499 million has been appropriated to an already inflated allocation of R 270 514 million. The Office of the Premier is not a service delivery entity, yet more and more resources are made available for the convenience of Premier Ace Magashule. Over the last financial year the Office of the Premier regressed in its audit outcomes to a qualified audit.

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development continues to squander hundreds of millions of Rands on unsuccessful vanity projects like the Vrede Dairy Project. We believe that these funds could be better utilised.

The ANC-led Free State Provincial Government under Premier Ace Magashule is unable to manage its finances appropriately as proven by the Auditor-General’s annual reports for the 2013/14 financial year.

The AG reports show an increase of 87% in unauthorised expenditure amounting to R470 million. Within the department of Education unauthorised expenditure increased by 441% in one year totalling R427 million. Irregular expenditure came in at R2,429 billion and in total the province lost almost R3 billion to questionable financial management practises.

The DA objects to the Adjustment budget on the grounds that the people of the Free State are not getting value for money in terms of good governance, accountability and transparency as indicated in the National Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation’s annual Management Performance Assessment Tool (MPAT) 2013/14, which showed that the Free State dropped five places, making the province the second worst governed province in the country.

Unless Provincial Treasury under the leadership of MEC Elzabe Rockman take immediate action and implement radical cost cutting measures and adjust resources appropriately, the Free State will very soon find itself bankrupt. The Free State Provincial Government cannot continue asking for additional funding if it does nothing to cut reckless spending, fight corruption and eradicate entrenched financial mismanagement.