Langa Bodlani MPL
DA Limpopo Spokesperson on Treasury:
Today’s provincial budget speech by MEC Rudolph Phala was very vague on plans for our provincial economic growth and job creation for the people of Limpopo.
The MEC did not mention how the SMMEs, the drivers of economic growth, are going to be supported by this budget. He hardly mentioned the reduction of red tape which hinders the growth of this sector.
Whilst he mentioned the need for austerity measures, he did not identify any cost containment measures. These should include the reduction of the provincial wage bill, the reduction of wasteful expenditures by departments on non-service delivery items such as catering, advertisement, and ministerial benefits especially on luxury items such as cars, hotels and flights.
He was also lacking on the details on how he plans to curb corruption especially on supply chain management of various departments.
The budget allocation to various departments also failed to come up with concrete plans to ensure that these departments manage their budgets properly. Under expenditure of budgets and conditional grants is replete in all provincial departments and yet the MEC did not take the people of the province in confidence on how is he planning to tackle this. It is doubtful whether the R6. 7 billion of conditional grants will be spent fully in this financial year.
This is compounded by extremely high amounts of wasteful and irregular expenditure especially in health and education which was recorded notwithstanding the presence of section 100 (1) (b) team. MEC did not tell us how he plans to deal with this. High vacancy rates (30.13% in Jan 2015) in provincial departments, if not attended, will continue to hamper their budget expenditure and services to our people.
Furthermore, except for bare promises, the MEC failed to give concrete proposals on how this government is going to rescue our battling municipalities. Failure to invest in our water infrastructure has led to our communities continuing to either have no water at all or having inconsistent supply.
Finally the MEC hardly mentioned the scourge of youth unemployment and means of how this budget will help to bring our youth into the economic mainstream. The youth unemployment is tinder waiting to go up in flames and yet the MEC failed to even mention this sector of our population.