Let’s build a prosperous Mpumalanga

The Auditor General recently released a report stating that the Irregular Expenditure in the province had climbed to a total of R2.3 billion. As much as 95% of this money was irregularly spent by two of our most vital departments; the Department of Health and the Department of Education.

Financial mismanagement in Mpumalanga is too high and this no doubt influences the quality of services delivered to our people.

R2.3 billion is what it would cost to build at least 40 000 good quality RDP houses and clear the housing backlog in many municipalities.

R2.3 billion could be used to build training facilities for young people to ensure that they get real jobs and are not simply left idling on the streets, abusing drugs and getting involved in criminal activities.

R2.3 billion could see the government creating systems to improve public healthcare for all Mpumalanga’s residents.

It can longer be denied that Mpumalanga’s potential is being held back by the performance of its government under the leadership of Premier David Mabuza and his cabinet.

Year on year, Premier Mabuza makes a call to put an end to officials doing business with government but nothing has come of this. The door for corruption and nepotism has been left wide open and there are no real plans in place to close it.

Last year, the Provincial Government abandoned its “Operation Clean Audit” mission which stipulated that all departments and municipalities would achieve clean audits by 2014. This has opened the gates for vital departments to regress, widening the gap between residents of Mpumalanga and the delivery of quality services.

Clean audits in Mpumalanga have decreased from 5 to 4, audits that were unqualified with findings decreased from 8 to 7, and qualified audits increased from 4 to 6.

By abandoning initiatives that seemingly aim at uplifting the provincial government, and blatantly ignoring recommendations made by Chapter 9 institutions, it is becoming clear that the ANC is not interested in seeing the people of Mpumalanga prosper. It is also becoming increasingly clear that the ANC is not interested in turning this province into the economic powerhouse it should be.

Together with the people of Mpumalanga, the DA can build this province and place it amongst the best in South Africa.

A DA government would ensure that there is legislation that prevents officials from doing business with government. Those who are suspected to be in contravention of this legislation would be suspended pending the outcome of their cases.

This would root out the seeds of corruption and ensure that there are fair opportunities for legitimate business to grow and to thrive.

There have been numerous reports of residents protesting against businesses for not hiring local residents.

Under a DA government, this would not happen because we would ensure that opportunities to gain skills that would boost the chances of employment are open to everyone. The government’s current Extended Public Works Programme only transfers limited skills that are unlikely to lead to real jobs.

When the conditions are created for businesses to thrive, and people have skills that makes them employable, Mpumalanga’s economy will grow and this province will be a better place for all of us.

We, the people of Mpumalanga deserve better. The DA is committed to establishing a clean government that will uplift the conditions of our people. Together with you, we can build an inclusive economy where opportunities to prosper are open to everyone.