By Adriana Randall MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Finance
Ashor Sarupen MPL, DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Finance:
The Gauteng medium term budget, instead of offering real solutions to the province’s unemployment and economic growth crisis, is an exercise to cover up government’s programme implementation failures.
This adjustment budget acknowledges the tough economic times, slow provincial growth rate and the scourge of unemployment, but the closest finance MEC Barbara Creecy came to addressing the jobs crisis was to mention that South Africa could generate up to 460 000 jobs by 2030.
Not one skills development or job creation programme was mentioned or even hinted at, despite the MEC earmarking R50 million to bid for and host events of an indeterminate nature.
MEC Barbara Creecy waxed lyrical about the fees must fall movement expressing her solidarity with students and lauding government’s efforts to bring some form of relief.
Yet, she made no mention to expand provincial bursary programmes, or to assist recently graduated government bursary beneficiaries to gain employment.
While the DA welcomes the additional R1.6 billon to school feeding programmes and learner support materials, more than half of those funds were initially earmarked to build severely needed schools – but more than R350 million was given to the struggling Department of Infrastructure Development to pay its debts to municipalities.
MEC Creecy has also been forced to pay for government’s refusal to scrap the widely rejected e-toll system. The so-called subsidy of R123 million is nothing more than government having to honour its agreement with ETC and to keep the company afloat in the wake of widespread public refusal to pay.
A major concern remains government’s spiralling wage bill, which is approaching R50 billion a year – a direct result of the ANC’s jobs-for-pals policies.
A DA government would allocate funds in a manner that would stimulate the economy, create jobs and rapidly improve service delivery.
It will do so by trimming down government departments into a lean, mean delivery machine and by spending funds on necessary programmes, and not on nice-to-haves.