Anthony Benadie MPL,
DA Spokesperson on Finance:
The MEC of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism Eric Kholwane must ensure that the health department receive sufficient money to employ the necessary healthcare professionals and reduce the vacancy rate by 10%.
As the MEC presents his budget speech and introduce the Mpumalanga Appropriation Bill tomorrow (Tuesday), the DA has the following expectation for each department:
Office of the Premier
The DA does not expect any real change to occur with regards to this allocation. This department needs to ensure that it continues to develop strategies and continue on its oversight and intervention when there is a need.
Finance, Economic Development and Tourism
We expect some major changes to the allocation for this department, as there is a major restructuring/re-engineering occurring within the department and its parastatals. The major chunk of this allocation needs to go toward programmes that seek to boost the economic productivity of the province. A focus on support towards SMMEs is essential.
Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs
As always, we expect farmer support and development to receive the biggest portion of this budget. The support of government towards small scale farmers is key to the economic prosperity as well as food security within the province. The budget given to the construction of the highly anticipated Fresh Produce Market must also be expanded on.
The Department of Human Settlements allocation needs to be primarily focused on housing development. More needs to be done to ensure more sites across the province are identified for housing development. The process of identifying beneficiaries must be fast-tracked for more output.
More needs to be done in allocating more funds to local governance – It has been 2 years since Emalahleni has been put under administration. The focus should be on the support programmes the department has for municipalities as it is this support that can turn key issues in municipalities around.
Community Safety and Security
The allocation of the provincial budget for the department should focus on training traffic officers both existing and new to ensure that road rage, illegal contraventions and drunk driving are curbed on our roads. Crime intervention should also become increasingly emphasised to ensure the safety of our people.
Public Works, Roads and Transport
The maintenance and upgrading of existing roads should be highly considered as provincial roads continue to dilapidate due to the failure of maintenance.
This department will once again receive the bulk of the budget; however the DA would like to see that this money is aligned with the Premiers SOPA’s Promises of Constructing Grade R facilities, Provision of Laboratories and computer centres to all schools offering maths and science, upgrading of special schools and provision of sanitation facilities with water and electricity. Money needs to be set aside for the special program to track learners throughout their schooling years to eliminate school dropouts.
Same as the department of health money must be set aside for the appointment of social workers who has studied with a bursary from the Mpumalanga department of social development to ensure the province does not lose the skill.
Culture, sport and recreation
The DA would expect that this department focuses on capital projects like the High altitude training centre and the Cultural village were millions have been spent in previous financial years but are currently been put on hold due to budgetary constraints as well as other heritage sites across Mpumalanga that are currently being neglected.