Budget vote speech: Office of the Premier

The following speech was delivered by Langa Bodlani DA MPL, to the Limpopo Provincial Legislature on 18 June 2015 during the Debate on the 2015 Budget of the office of the Premier.

The DA welcomes the premier’s acknowledgement that this government “must not only be able to account for the monies we spend, we must also be able to show value for these public resources as and when we spend them”.

With these ethos internalised by every public servant, our province will go a long way to addressing the many service delivery concerns legitimately raised by our communities.

This internalisation will not come voluntary from many of our public servants because for far too long they have become accustomed to wanton use of public funds.

It will require a political will on your part Mr Premier to crack the whip even if it is against your own comrade.

Nelson Mandela said:” There are times when a leader must move out ahead of the flock, go off in a new direction, confident that he is leading his people in the right way.”

The Constitution places very serious responsibilities and mandates on youMr Premier.

It says you have a duty to coordinate the functions of the provincial administration and its departments.

This in layman’s terms means that the buck stops with you Mr Premier.

Honourable members

The premier’s office cannot execute this function for as long as it has a perpetual acting D-G with no signs of converting this to a permanent post.

Mr Premier

When there are unabated irregular/wasteful and fruitless expenditures across departments which steal from service delivery.

The buck stops with you.

Mr Premier when the department of education fails to deliver textbooks on time to our learners

Although this is the purview of the department of education, the buck still stops with you Mr Premier.

After much denial that there weren’t still schools with no textbooks when they were supposed to have been delivered, the portfolio committee went on an oversight and confirmed this,

Mr Premier you did not have the humility to apologise that you were misinformed about the availability of textbooks when they were in fact not there.

In particular Mr Premier, the AG in the recent audit report was very scathing to your department in that and I quote “effective steps were not taken to prevent irregular expenditure, as required by section 38 (1) (c) (ii) of the Public Finance Management Act and Treasury Regulations”.

This failure has to be addressed by you Mr Premier as a matter of urgency.

Otherwise Mr Premier you would have failed in your transversal oversight and that cannot be, because the buck stops with you.

Mr Premier we cannot be engaged in polemic debates about whether the applicable statistic on unemployment is the extended definition or not, fact of the matter is that our youth especially are unemployed.

This means that as part of your Policy and Governance you must take the people of Limpopo in confidence that yours we be to implement policies that are amenable to job creation.

That is why when the AG says persons in the service of your department whose close family members had a business interest in contracts awarded by your department failed to disclose such interest is very concerning for us.

This buck stops with you Mr Premier because it means that there is a policy lacuna to deal with regulating these business interests which have the potential to hinder competitive tender processes and by extension job creation in our province.

Mr Premier

We are extremely concerned that in your budget speech you are merely calling for departments to commit to improve financial management and clean audits.

Calling for as it were is in the province of us as the opposition but you as head of this government you must be cracking the whip if there is a failure to implement clean audits.

This is because the buck stops with you.

Could this lack of a resolute political will on your part Mr Premier also explain the reason why your APP seems to be ambiguous if not silent on the strategy to effectively deal with the issue of clean audits.

The Limpopo Development Plan, which I must hasten to say that it mentions the clean audits very casually, seems to relegate this urgent task to Treasury.

Whilst this may be so that Treasury also has a mandate to see clean audits, the buck still stops with you as the head.

This is because as our constitution which entails your job description aptly states that you have a duty to coordinate the functions of the provincial administration and its departments.

Lastly another indictment on your part is the failure to fulfil employment equity especially as it pertains to the employment of people with disabilities.

More needs to be done on this score, Mr Premier.

I thank you.