By David van Vuuren, DA Chief Whip in the Free State Provincial Legislature:
The Free State Provincial Government is bankrupt.
Last month the NG Kerk had to take the provincial government to court in a bid to compel the government to pay out state subsidies to several affiliated welfare organisations.
Many other NGOs and welfare organisations in the Free State are not so lucky as to be able to access the courts in order to compel the government to pay out their State subsidies. They have all been abandoned by the Department of Social Development and MEC Sisi Ntombela. The failure to pay out state subsidies to welfare organisations threaten to close the doors of social assistance to the most poor and vulnerable in our province, children and the elderly, who are dependent on the social assistance of NGOs.
This week as student awarded a bursary to study veterinary science in 2009 had to approach the High Court seeking an urgent interdict against the Premier Ace Magashule and the MEC for Education, Tate Makgoe, to compel them to make good on their bursary promises and pay the outstanding fees to the University of Pretoria.
The DA has been approached by several public and independent schools claiming that the Provincial Department of Education has failed to pay out critically needed State subsidies to schools. Many schools are dependent of this assistance in order to fund their operating expenses.
We are also aware that the Provincial Department of Education has failed to pay the salaries of teacher and bus drivers at some schools. We have asked MEC Makgoe written questions on when these salaries will be paid, but these remain unanswered.
In addition, the DA has been approached by temporary nurses and social workers who have been promised permanent placements within the Departments of Health and Social Development who have not been paid their stipends and after almost two years have not yet been permanently employed. Earlier this year the Department of Health and MEC Malakoane failed to pay the salaries of medical doctors and nurses.
The Mafube and Masilonyana Local Municipalities failed to pay the salaries of municipal workers timeously for several months earlier this year.
ESKOM had to threaten punitive blackouts in the Ngwathe and Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipalities due to non-payment of electricity use.
The ANC-led Free State Provincial Government under Premier Ace Magashule is bankrupt. It is clear that Premier Magashule’s Operation Hlasela, like Operation Clean Audit 2014, has failed. Financial mismanagement is rampant. How else can one explain the reasons the non-payment of bursaries to students, state subsidies to schools and welfare organisations and the non-payment of salaries and the failure to pay the accounts of service providers.
But the people of the Free State can rest assured that, at the very least, Ace Magashule and his government will always find money to travel to Cuba.