By Bosman Grobler MPL, DA spokesperson on Finance:
The Democratic Alliance (DA) takes note and welcomes the R1 billion budget increase of the Mpumalanga Adjustment Appropriation Bill 2015, which was tabled in the legislature on Friday, but we raise serious concerns about how the increased funding had been allocated.
We welcome the following announcements in the bill:
- The allocation of R3, 8 million for wage increases for public servants. We would further like to urge departments to ensure that capable individuals are appointed in vacant posts.
- We welcome the allocation of R60 million to Mpumalanga Health to clear the backlog in Orthopedic Surgery across the province. This is an essential service that has been lacking behind for too long.
- The “kick start” allocation of R13.5 million towards the planning of a permanent parliamentary village. This could save the province millions of rands in the long term in expensive accommodation costs.
- Allocation of R127 million towards the construction of a traffic college in Bushbuckridge that will improve traffic policing and will create jobs.
But the DA is concerned about the following allocations or non-allocations in the bill:
- R0 allocated to any form of drought relief or drought mitigation, and no extra funding to agricultural role-players to protect our food security. Drought relief funding is being held up by the Premier for an unknown reason.
- Allocation of R1 million towards an official vehicle for the Speaker which is an outrageous waste of money when so many people live in poverty in Mpumalanga. This money could be better directed towards service delivery.
- The budgeting of 62 vehicles for Traditional Authorities in the province. The DA is of the opinion that the ANC is buying votes with these vehicles which were delivered last week. Cogta adjusted R24 million for these vehicles, yet no money for drought relief.
- It is further concerning that the Cultural Hub and the High Altitude Training Facility is not mentioned in the budget. There was no mention of funding for these two Centre.
- There is no mention of Cogta on additional funds appropriated to the Disaster Management Fund.
- R5 million has been redirected to the Water Bottling plant in Mkhondo through the non-functioning Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency, which could be more good money thrown after bad.
The DA remains committed to hold government to account for the decisions made, and for executing the plans. There is little value in planning without execution.