Block usurps premier’s powers

By Adv Boitumelo Babuseng, MPL, DA Provincial Spokesperson for Economic Affairs:

The Democratic Alliance believes that the delivery of services and meeting the needs of residents must be the cornerstone of all departmental programmes.

However, we question the fact that the MEC for Finance has taken it upon himself to hand over dictionaries, calculators, baby bags, sanitary towels and four houses.

This so-called constituency outreach programme has nothing to do with the core mandate of the Provincial Treasury. Treasury must promote sound fiscal policy in the provincial administration, not co-ordinate outreach programmes.

In fact, the cheap stunt usurps the powers of the premier, who has the executive authority to co-ordinate the activities of provincial departments. Since April this year, a provincial planning forum and a provincial development planning forum has been in operation at the Office of the Premier.

Why, then, does the MEC for Finance usurp the powers belonging to the premier? Do we have an actual premier in the province or is she just the premier on paper, without any authority of her own? And would the MEC have attempted this grab for power if the premier was male?

The entire stunt smacks of cheap electioneering being done through a government department. If the MEC for Finance wants to campaign for his party, he should do so in his own time and with his party’s resources. He also shouldn’t drag officials from his department into his political ventures. Man hours are lost in the preparations for this electioneering ploy and for the two days that officials will be away from their desks. We need senior officials to be in their offices and attending to the core functions of Treasury, not standing around in the field and stroking the MEC’s ego.

We will be following up the matter with the Provincial Treasury to determine the cost of this expensive exercise, including the calculated loss of productivity.

The MEC would be well-advised to focus on economic concerns which truly matter to the lives of our people, like addressing the slow payment to SMME’s by the provincial government and creating an environment which is conducive to job creation. The province needs a MEC for Finance who is concerned about economic affairs, not political ploys.