DA Budget Expectations: Govt must get off the gravy train

Andrew Louw, MPL

DA Provincial Leader: Northern Cape:

The Democratic Alliance wants to hear a Northern Cape budget that will
deliver services to our people. We want to hear about consequences for
those who misspend public funds and for those who do not deliver what
they promise.

We must hear about cost containment strategies, limitations on luxury
spending and measures to combat corruption. The Northern Cape received
the smallest provincial allocation, which must be allocated and spent
wisely. We simply can’t afford to see public funds being squandered.
We call for the implementation of cost containment measures and the
monitoring of any excessive spending which denies services to our
people.

Over the past three years, fruitless and wasteful expenditure by
provincial departments increased by 69%. When money goes down the
drain like this, it stops service delivery. With the R66 million that
was wasted in the previous financial year alone, we could have built
660 houses or created 3 400 EPWP opportunities.

There must be consequences for officials who waste public funds or who
manipulate supply chain processes to benefit their friends and family
members. We call for the full implementation of the Public Finance
Management Act and Treasury Regulations to ensure that all public
spending meets its goal of delivering services. Provincial government
must get off the gravy train and start working for our people.

We want to hear about consequences for contractors who deliver shoddy
work, who don’t meet completion dates and who exceed budgets. We call
for the provincial government to levy fines against contractors who
don’t perform according to the bid specifications. In the 2014
financial year, for instance, the department of Education still had 54
construction projects in progress which were all scheduled to be
completed in 2012. The Kagung Clinic, the Northern Cape Theatre and
the mental health hospital also illustrates how poorly the provincial
government manages its construction contracts.

We must hear about the improvement in debt collection strategies.
Currently, 31% of departments had debt collection periods exceeding 90
days. Just as government must improve its payments and ensure all
invoices are paid within 30 days, it should also take action to recoup
all revenue due to the provincial purse.

Given the mushrooming of violent service delivery protests across the
province, we also want to know how municipalities will be capacitated
to deliver a better quality of service to its residents.
We also want to hear how the provincial government will retain
professional staff, especially doctors and nurses. The mandate to
combat climate change must be funded properly and the management of
disaster relief in the province must be improved. We want to hear how
learner transport will be funded and service providers monitored to
ensure all our children get to school safely and on time.

We call on the MEC of Finance to deliver a budget that will show how
the financial management in the province will improve. Without a
continued and sustained improvement in the financial management of
provincial departments, service delivery will not improve.