Budget vote speeches: Health

The following speeches were delivered in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature on 19 June 2015 by the DA’s Shadow MEC for Health, Jack Bloom MPL and Spokesperson for Health, Refiloe Nt’sekhe  MPL, during the 2015/16 Annual Budget Debate on Health.

Speech by

Jack Bloom

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

“R34 bn Gauteng health budget needs to be spent effectively”

Speech highlights:

  • Budget has more than tripled in ten years, and could be adequate to provide a reasonable health system, if spent inefficiently and ineffectively
  • Capital spending: The department cannot spend what it gets, and has voluntarily asked National Treasury only for that which it has properly planned for
  • Sick people are vulnerable people, and they deserve better from this department.

The full speech can be obtained here.

Speech by

Refiloe Nt’sekhe

DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Health

“Freedom cannot be realised in poor health”

Speech Highlights:

  • Emergency services do not respond within the times required
  • This denies South Africans their Constitutionally-guaranteed right to access to quality healthcare
  • “healthcare delayed is life denied”

The full speech can be obtained here

Budget vote speech: Department of LEDET

The following speech was delivered by Langa Bodlani DA MPL, to the Limpopo Provincial Legislature on 18 June 2015 during the Debate on the 2015 Budget of the Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (LEDET)

The recently adopted DA’s values charter emphasis that central to empowering South Africans is ensuring that they are free from depravations that rob them of their ability to use their opportunities.

This requires amongst others, a growing economy to enable people to access jobs.

Honourable members,

LEDET has a crucial role in ensuring that we have an enabling environment for the creation of a job producing economy.

Honourable members

This department viewed separately is performing well but looked with its entities; a picture of gloom begins to emerge.

For us to get to this position this department must move swiftly to filling its vacancy rates.

These are the vacancies including those in the parastatals such as the game rangers in the Limpopo Wildlife Resorts.

The department’s reply revealed that Limpopo had at least 418 known poaching cases but only 113 successful arrests were made in the last three years.

Of concern for the DA is the number of field rangers who patrol our game reserves. An example is the D’Nyala Nature Reserve which employs a mere 6 field rangers and lost 2 rhinos in 2013.

Limpopo’s parks lost 14 rhinos to poachers over 3 years with Atherstone and Nwanedi Nature Reserves and Letaba Ranch being the hardest hit.

The value of animals lost to poachers in provincial reserves during 2012/13 & 2014 is conservatively estimated at a staggering R25 million

The preservation of these games is the source of tourism in our province and an effective means of job creation.

Yet LEDET does not seem to have a workable strategy to deal with these poachers who are depleting our natural reserves.

Honourable Members

We still need to be convinced that the removal of Limpopo Wildlife Reserve from Limpopo Tourism Agency to LEDET will lead to the aimed clean audit of the LTA.

Honourable members

The office of the CEO at the Limpopo Tourism Agency is given over R10 million from which he must pay the very same board members who must exercise oversight over this office.

This defies logic as you need a board that is not beholden to the CEO for its remuneration.

Moreover this R10 million, the CEO does not form part of the human resource and the latter has its own budget.

Convention is that the CEO is the most senior of the human resource and intrinsically forms part of this section as the head.

LTA through the application of a strange form of logic saw it fit to separate the CEO from personnel.

The entire personnel gets just over R6 million and the office of the CEO alone get R10 million, strange indeed.

Honourable members

Another entity in trouble is the Limpopo Gambling Board

At a recent portfolio committee meeting of the Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (LEDET) it was revealed that the Limpopo Gambling Board (LGB) is paying a staggering R700,000.00 per month for the rental of its offices.

Speaker

This lease agreement started in 2013 at R500,000.00 per month and has an annual increase of 10% per annum.  The rental is therefore currently over R700,000.00 per month.

The lease agreement has a lifespan of 10 years and by the time that period comes to an end, the taxpayers would have paid R120 million. This is R70 million more than the National Gambling Board has contracted for its national head office in Sandton, Gauteng.

Members

If the Limpopo department would rather purchase the building it would cost R80 million. The choice by Limpopo to spend R70 million more than the entire National Gambling Board Head Office, and to spend R40 million more than purchasing the building is a blatant abuse of public funds.

To compound this matter, the LGB is currently unable to conduct compliance audits on Limpopo’s gambling outlets because of financial constraints.

The DA pushed for this department to explore all options including the purchase of this building or the cancellation of this lease and paying of the penalty fee. This will definitely be the more cost effective option.

I cannot speak for other parties.

Now talk about ethics, it is unethical to want to censor this information from getting onto the public domain.

Every effort to cut costs to save the taxpayers’ money must be government’s priority.

On my being referred to the Ethic Committee for exposing this exorbitant rent to the media and the taxpayers who foot this bill.

I say ethics is about what ought or ought not to be done.  What is ideal and what is not ideal and what is the best decision under the circumstances.

Now was it ideal to divulge this waste? Was it the best decision under the circumstances?

My answer to both these questions is in the affirmative.

For our Constitution in section 16 provides for freedom to receive or impart information and ideas.

I thank you.

Budget vote speech: Public Works, Roads and Infrastructure

The following speech was delivered by Langa Bodlani DA MPL, to the Limpopo Provincial Legislature on 18 June 2015 during the Debate on the 2015 Budget of the Department of Public Works, Roads and Infrastructure

This department has a long history of being on the receiving end of negative audit outcomes from the Auditor General.

The MEC is tasked with the unenviable mammoth task.

With its reconfiguration to include other responsibilities such as roads and infrastructure it may well be that we will continue with the negative audit outcomes until this trend is decidedly reversed.

The R2.7 billion allocated to this department must be monitored to the cent and that includes the assets of this newly configured department.

The basis for negative outcomes is clearly there for everyone to see, what remains is the plan to deal with these.

Honourable members

  • We need a concrete plan to deal with the chaotic immovable asset register,
  • The leases under this department are not properly managed,
  • Infrastructure delivery is compromised due to lack of adequate capacity,
  • Failure to collect arrear rental means that the department has become a cash cow for free riders.
  • The serial under capacity in the office of the CFO must be urgently attended to.

It cannot be that the department engages the services of external companies such as PWC Rokoma to deal with its audit issues when these duties need to be performed internally.

Honourable Speaker,

The Limpopo  Development Plan, leaving aside the fact that it still needs to be adopted by this house as the provincial government policy, identifies that at least 222 registered built environment are required for the roll out of our infrastructure plans.

Currently there is only 18 and this means that the deficiency runs to over 200 shortages.

The MEC must tell us the plans he has to correct this.

The administration of the Road Agency Limpopo, an entity which falls under this department leaves a lot to be desired.

It too has been receiving disclaimers for the past years in the past.

Many pertinent questions arise out of this quagmire.

The most important omission MEC is that in your budget speech you indicate that R1.2 billion will be transferred to RAL and yet this is nowhere reflected on its APP.

How are we to exercise oversight on this staggering figure?

Has the department checked the cost analysis of engaging consultants to implement its projects as against other indicators such as value for money, and other legislative compliance?

Honourable members,

What I have just mentioned ties intricately with the vacancy rate of this entity must be solved as a matter of urgency.

Our province is replete with the so-called Bermuda roads.

To fix them needs a proper supply management in the roll out of RAL’s projects.

However it appears that only to require declarations of interests do not suffice as this has happened in the past but now a more stringent approach is needed.

The DA fully agrees with the committee that the EPWP jobs cannot be used for narrow partisan patronage system where favour the governing party’s supporters are employed to the exclusion of the others.

This department as the custodian of this EPWP must ensure that apolitical job appointments filter through in all departments, state entities and our municipalities.

If we fail to do this we will be complicit in the nullification of the rights of freedom of political association which so many died in defence of.

On this score the NDP says and I quote “ a professional public service is one where people are recruited and promoted on the basis of merit and potential, rather than connections or political allegiance. This requires rigorous and transparent recruitment mechanisms.” End quote

Honourable members

This injunction applies to EPWP jobs from the department itself down to jobs where ward councillors dispense these opportunities.

Budget vote speeches: Office of the Premier

The following speeches were delivered in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature today by the DA’s Provincial Leader, John Moodey MPL, and Spokespersons for the Office of the Premier, Jack Bloom MPL and Justus de Goede MPL, during the 2015/16 Annual Budget Debate on the Office of the Premier: Vote 01

Speech by

John Moodey MPL

DA Gauteng Leader

“Premier needs to slay Goliath of greed, corruption and mismanagement”

Speech highlights:

  • Gauteng is plagued by the triple threat of poverty, unemployment and inequality
  • However, the threat to effective governance is corruption, maladministration and non-accountability by a severely under skilled and unprofessional public service
  • Gauteng’s citizens need a responsive government that effectively deals with health care, crime, drugs, gangsterism and youth unemployment
  • Life in townships has improved dramatically, but all those gains are lost through municipalities unable to deliver quality basic services and maintenance of infrastructure
  • Municipal service delivery will not improve by creating larger and more cumbersome metros, as other legislative means need to be exhausted before considering such steps
  • Provincial government must settle its debt to local municipalities as it drastically reduces their income and ability to deliver services
  • Households are under increasing pressure as the insistence to continue with e-tolls and above inflation increases in fuel, municipal services and electricity are driving up commodity prices.
  • While the premier has noble intentions to improve the quality of life of Gauteng’s residents, he first has to undo 21 years of slow, cumbersome and ineffective government.

The full speech can be obtained here.

Speech by

Jack Bloom

DA Gauteng Spokesperson for the Office of the Premier

“Gauteng requires total make-over”

Speech highlights:

  • A relatively small item in the Premier’s Office budget is R6 million for the continuation of Gauteng TV, a project started by former premier Nomvula Mokonyane which has already cost R6 million.
  • I said last year that it was an obvious waste of money and should be canned immediately before it cost us any more money.
  • Investigation by the Oversight Committee has proved my point, and your office is now trying to justify why any part of this project should continue.
  • This sort of thing is rife throughout the provincial government, with billions of rand wasted because of incompetence and corruption.

The full speech can be obtained here.

Speech by

Justus de Goede

DA Gauteng Spokesperson for the Office of the Premier

“Premier’s hard task to restore tarnished government image”

Speech Highlights:

  • Satisfaction with the Provincial government has steadily eroded to the extent that only 40% of residents are satisfied with the Provincial administration, while satisfaction at a municipal level ranged between a mere 24 % and 42%.
  • Premier Makhura will point out that his own strategy for the fifth term of the Legislature has only been running for a year and that the next GCRO survey will show improvement in the government’s performance – but trust between the administration and the governed has been badly, if not irreparably damaged, and urgently needs close attention.
  • As the gap widens between government and residents, the Premier cannot afford to make idle promises – these must be actioned or they will be nothing more than ideas of fancy.

The full speech can be obtained here

Budget vote speech: Office of the Premier

The following speech was delivered by Langa Bodlani DA MPL, to the Limpopo Provincial Legislature on 18 June 2015 during the Debate on the 2015 Budget of the office of the Premier.

The DA welcomes the premier’s acknowledgement that this government “must not only be able to account for the monies we spend, we must also be able to show value for these public resources as and when we spend them”.

With these ethos internalised by every public servant, our province will go a long way to addressing the many service delivery concerns legitimately raised by our communities.

This internalisation will not come voluntary from many of our public servants because for far too long they have become accustomed to wanton use of public funds.

It will require a political will on your part Mr Premier to crack the whip even if it is against your own comrade.

Nelson Mandela said:” There are times when a leader must move out ahead of the flock, go off in a new direction, confident that he is leading his people in the right way.”

The Constitution places very serious responsibilities and mandates on youMr Premier.

It says you have a duty to coordinate the functions of the provincial administration and its departments.

This in layman’s terms means that the buck stops with you Mr Premier.

Honourable members

The premier’s office cannot execute this function for as long as it has a perpetual acting D-G with no signs of converting this to a permanent post.

Mr Premier

When there are unabated irregular/wasteful and fruitless expenditures across departments which steal from service delivery.

The buck stops with you.

Mr Premier when the department of education fails to deliver textbooks on time to our learners

Although this is the purview of the department of education, the buck still stops with you Mr Premier.

After much denial that there weren’t still schools with no textbooks when they were supposed to have been delivered, the portfolio committee went on an oversight and confirmed this,

Mr Premier you did not have the humility to apologise that you were misinformed about the availability of textbooks when they were in fact not there.

In particular Mr Premier, the AG in the recent audit report was very scathing to your department in that and I quote “effective steps were not taken to prevent irregular expenditure, as required by section 38 (1) (c) (ii) of the Public Finance Management Act and Treasury Regulations”.

This failure has to be addressed by you Mr Premier as a matter of urgency.

Otherwise Mr Premier you would have failed in your transversal oversight and that cannot be, because the buck stops with you.

Mr Premier we cannot be engaged in polemic debates about whether the applicable statistic on unemployment is the extended definition or not, fact of the matter is that our youth especially are unemployed.

This means that as part of your Policy and Governance you must take the people of Limpopo in confidence that yours we be to implement policies that are amenable to job creation.

That is why when the AG says persons in the service of your department whose close family members had a business interest in contracts awarded by your department failed to disclose such interest is very concerning for us.

This buck stops with you Mr Premier because it means that there is a policy lacuna to deal with regulating these business interests which have the potential to hinder competitive tender processes and by extension job creation in our province.

Mr Premier

We are extremely concerned that in your budget speech you are merely calling for departments to commit to improve financial management and clean audits.

Calling for as it were is in the province of us as the opposition but you as head of this government you must be cracking the whip if there is a failure to implement clean audits.

This is because the buck stops with you.

Could this lack of a resolute political will on your part Mr Premier also explain the reason why your APP seems to be ambiguous if not silent on the strategy to effectively deal with the issue of clean audits.

The Limpopo Development Plan, which I must hasten to say that it mentions the clean audits very casually, seems to relegate this urgent task to Treasury.

Whilst this may be so that Treasury also has a mandate to see clean audits, the buck still stops with you as the head.

This is because as our constitution which entails your job description aptly states that you have a duty to coordinate the functions of the provincial administration and its departments.

Lastly another indictment on your part is the failure to fulfil employment equity especially as it pertains to the employment of people with disabilities.

More needs to be done on this score, Mr Premier.

I thank you.

Budget vote speech: Department of Social Development

By Jacques Smalle, DA MPL:

The following speech was delivered by Jacques Smalle DA MPL on the behalf of Katlego Suzan Phala DA MPL, to the Limpopo Provincial Legislature on 09 June 2015 during the Debate on the 2015 Budget of the Department of Social Development.

“A dept. of Social Dependency and Destruction”

There is a powerful line in a popular film, V for Vendetta which states that: “People should not be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.”

Similarly, the DA believes that the people of Limpopo should not be dependent on the government but it should be the other way around.

Quite frankly, the DA is not surprised at the dismal performance of this department because of its fundamentally flawed understanding of its specific role.

We vehemently disagree with the Hon.MEC who stated in her budget vote of 2015/16 that her department would improve the lives of people.

The role of this dept. is to ensure that economic development through increased growth translates into opportunities where citizens can improve their own lives on their own terms.

We are aware of the usual gate keeping tactics of the ruling party of sabotaging opportunities for the most vulnerable in our communities to ensure their loyalty to the ANC.

Make no mistake Hon.Speaker this is the Dept. of Social Dependency and Destruction.

Hon. Speaker this is evident when the MEC is very quick to list the department’s achievements yet conveniently glosses over the glaring challenges and failures.

She failed to mention that her department spent more than R 6 271 000 on various advertising mediums yet could not absorb 323 registered Social Workers due to ‘financial constraints’.

The same excuse was used earlier in January when the SANCA Rehabilitation centre had to close due to inadequate funding by the dept. of Social dependency and when funding from the National Lottery went dry.

The Hon. MEC boasts of the new Seshego Treatment Centre, yet she could barely maintain the Musina and Phalaborwa treatment centres or pay the salaries and funds of nurses, administrator and auxiliary workers.

As a result of all these closures, addicts from as far was Waterberg and Mopani have to travel to Polokwane for assistance.

The Polokwane centre is also under siege and short staffed with a mere 3 social workers.

It is against these challenges that the DA was shocked to learn that the Dept. of Social Dependency surrendered  more than R65 million back to the National Treasury due to underspending.

We urge this dept. to speedily resolve their withholding of funds up to R 2 million from 33  NGO’s and NPO’s due to what they believe is non-compliance because it is the most needy our

communities that bear the brunt most.

Hon.Speaker , in a province where 43.46% of people are unemployed when you consider the number of discouraged job seekers, there is no doubt grants play a significant role.

The recent Afrobarometer Lived Poverty Index (LPI) confirms that the need for social assistance in our country in general is rising.

Our province in particular has one of the highest poverty headcounts and the higher the poverty headcount of a province, the higher the poverty gap and the more severe poverty is.

Females had a higher poverty headcount than males regardless of the poverty line used.

The DA is disappointed that the Hon. MEC’s budget vote and 2015/16 APP does not show an acute awareness of the multi-dimensionality of poverty and inequality in Limpopo.

Currently, 2.1 million people are beneficiaries of social grants in this province.

The DA wishes to re-iterate that will never do away with social grants as a safety net for the most vulnerable in our society, but the priority must be on growing our economy to decrease the need for social grants.

The best way out of poverty is through job creation. We need to bring those who are on social grants into the economy, and enable them to become active participants.

There DA suggests three ways in which the department can repent from their continued path of destroying our people’s lives through dependency:

  1. Targeted system of social assistance to vulnerable persons.
  2. A department that does more than build Early Childhood Centres and actually invests in our children.

3.       The potential of our people is bigger than grants. It is through job creation that the social development system will go beyond a mere protection of livelihoods but actually creates an opportunity for people to earn decent minimum standard of living.

The real issues in improving education remain unaddressed

Speech by minister Debbie Schafer, Western Cape Minister of Education:

Thank you for the opportunity to address this House on Minister Motshekga’s 2015/ 2016 Basic Education Budget Vote Speech.  For the purposes of this debate I shall confine myself largely to Basic Education.

Chairperson, Minister Motshekga announced in her speech in the National Assembly at the beginning of the month, the measures that her Department is taking to improve quality and efficiency in education throughout the country, with a renewed emphasis on curriculum coverage, improving assessment and strengthening quality, efficiency and accountability in our schools, districts and provinces.

All these are admirable goals, in fact they are essential, and the Minister is to be commended for acknowledging that these need to be improved, and starting to take steps in that direction.

A quality education is essential for every child to give them the best possible opportunities in life.

And by quality we must mean the best possible education for the individual learner, taking into account their abilities and circumstances.

Last year I highlighted the gaps in the Minister’s budget speech on the importance of increased access to special needs education and technical skills development in schools and I am pleased to see that the Minister has placed more emphasis on addressing these issues this year.

The Western Cape already leads the country in the provision of special needs education both for high needs learners in special schools and increasingly for low and moderate support needs learners in our inclusive ordinary schools.  We plan to increase access in the coming years.

We also support, in principle, the new three streamed approach of academic, vocational and technical curricula.

The educational needs of our children are diverse.  Not everyone can or wishes to follow a purely academic education, and it is long overdue that alternative pathways are offered.

Given that, combined with the persistent high dropout rates, we therefore support in principle the development of a new exit level certificate.

However, the Minister’s announcement on this lacked detail and gave the impression that it is a desperate attempt to come up with a “quick-fix” solution for the learners who are being pushed up from grade to grade without even passing very often, as a result of the  so-called Progression Policy.  I say “so-called”, as it seems laughable to refer to “progress” in any sense when one is speaking of learners who have not met the already very low criteria, and yet are put through to a higher grade with which they are unable to cope.

We look forward to receiving more information on the proposed skills and vocational pathway programme and the implementation thereof, bearing in mind the impact of changes in the curriculum, and the costs of training and employing suitable educators in the current economic climate.

Ultimately, the only way we are going to improve education in South Africa is by ensuring increased levels of accountability throughout the system, coupled with incentives.  If there are no incentives for those who perform well, and no accountability for those who do not, there really is no reason for people to improve performance – that is human nature, for better or worse.

So it is a welcome development that the Minister has just announced the development of Standards of Principalship to guide principals as to what is expected of them.  It is unfortunate that we need that, as good principals should already know what is expected of them, but it unfortunately represents the state our education system is in.

Principals are the leaders in our schools, and they set the tone as to whether the school will be a well-performing or under-performing one.

Other than this, however, the Minister has announced very little in the way of measures to strengthen accountability and efficiency.

Last year in the Western Cape we instituted competency assessments for the appointment of principals, which were used by almost all, if not all, schools appointing new principals.  The response has been very positive, with a number of principals requesting more such assessments in order to improve their skills.  This year we are rolling them out for Deputy Principal and HOD appointments.  It is a concern that we remain the only province to do this, however, especially given the importance placed on it in the NDP.

Of course, equally important are our teachers.  Competent, committed educators are essential for our children to receive a quality education, and teacher training is probably the most significant thing we can do in South Africa to improve our education system.  We are pleased that the DBE will be working with the Department of Higher Education and Training to better influence the quality of our teachers in critical subjects such as maths, science and technology.

However, we should be concerned about the quality of teaching in ALL subjects.  Minister, I have recently discovered that teacher training is receiving the least funding in our universities. Considering the priority that education is in our country, I would imagine the Minister may wish to take this up with Min Ndzimande.

But improved training must be accompanied by improved accountability.

Incentives and accountability are what drive change in human behaviour.

Good teachers should be rewarded when they perform well, whilst teachers who do not perform well should not.

Where is the incentive to do well if everyone is paid the same and there are no consequences for failing to attend school on time or at all, well prepared or not at all prepared, or for doing extra murals or not, as the case may be?

I see nothing from Minister Motshekga to address that issue.

Chairperson, last year the Minister received the report of the NSC Task Team.  One recommendation was that the curriculum should not be changed in the foreseeable future, as there have been too many curriculum changes and they have negatively affected our learners, teachers and their results.  And yet in her budget speech this year she announced a new Ministerial Task Team to conduct research into doing exactly that – by investigating how to make History a compulsory subject for all learners in Grade 10 to 12.

What exactly is the reason for this, other than to appease alliance partners before the 2016 local government elections?  History is compulsory until Grade 9.  If there are things that are deemed appropriate – and for the right reasons – that are not currently included in the curriculum, then surely they can be incorporated into that syllabus?  We trust that the financial implications of changing textbooks – which will cost millions – and employing and training additional teachers, will also be considered by the Task Team and the Minister.  But the crucial point is that learners will be severely limited in their choice of subjects.  They already have to take two languages, mathematics or maths literacy and Life Orientation.  This leaves 3 subjects that they can choose, and which affect their choices when and if they wish to study further.  If History is now also compulsory, they will have a choice of only two.

This cannot be in the interests of quality education.

Another attempt to limit choice in our education system is the single textbook per subject, about which we remain concerned.  It is becoming more apparent that the catalogue which we were told would remain and from which we could choose, will only contain one book per subject.  The stated intention of cost savings is noble in principle, but in practice is not good for quality education.

If the national government spent more effort on dealing with corruption and maladministration in other departments, there would be more than enough money to purchase quality textbooks without limiting the choice of teachers and learners, and endangering the publishing industry.

I have raised with the Minister and Deputy Minister, the ongoing concerns of the publishing industry.  The impact was brought home to me in a recent meeting with publishers, when it was explained that a small publisher is developing a maths book for Grade 10.  If it does not make the catalogue there will be little incentive for them to develop a Grade 11 one.  I do not have to explain the potential dangers that lie in minimising the amount of available material.

Finally, on quality, the NSC Task Team also strongly recommended that matric markers should be required to demonstrate their competence prior to being appointed, citing subject matter competency tests.

Not a single word has been said about this crucial aspect by the Minister, and the DA-led Western Cape Government remains the only province to conduct testing of this nature.

So we can talk about quality and accountability, but when we look at what is actually done, we are a long way off making a meaningful difference in our education system at a national level. We need real incentives and real accountability to improve the system and until that is implemented, we will remain far down the world education rankings, which is certainly not a situation we should be happy with.

Thank you

DA does not support Rural Development and Agrarian Reform Budget Vote

By Veliswa Mvenya (MPL), DA Provincial Chairperson:

To listen to a voice clip in English, please click here.

To listen to a voice clip in Xhosa, please click here.

The DA cannot support the budget that will see the Eastern Cape Rural Development Agency, as an implementing agency of the Department, unable to operate. This agency is responsible for rural development in other departments as well. Its budget has been cut by 28% but the activities have been increased.

Thirty-eight percent of its activities are unfunded. The department is also top heavy with personnel.

The allocation to Fort Cox College despite its well-known infrastructure challenges has also been decreased. This institution is expected to address the shortage of skills in the agricultural field.

The Eastern Cape Province is heavily dependent on agriculture for food security and its rural economic development.

This budget does not create opportunities for agricultural potential that the people of this province deserve. We cannot afford to support a budget that will undermine agricultural development in this province.

Budget vote speeches: Dedeat, Human Settlements, Provincial Treasury, Desrac, Safety & Liaison, Transport, EC Appropriation Bill 2015-16

By DA caucus in the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature:

The following speeches were delivered in the Eastern Cape Legislature today by DA Shadow MEC for Economic Development & Environmental Affairs and for Sport, Recreation, Arts & Culture Ross Purdon MPL, Shadow MEC for Human Settlements Kobus Botha MPL, Shadow MEC for Finance and for Safety & Liaison Bobby Stevenson MPL and Shadow MEC for Transport Marshall von Buchenroder MPL, during the budget vote debates of provincial departments.

Speech by
Ross Purdon, MPL
DA Shadow MEC for Economic Development and Environmental Affairs

“Coega, tourist visas and booze”

  • Entities in limbo
  • Coega R477-million deficit and no operational budget
  • New visa regulations a disaster.  EC already second last on the destination list
  • Ten inspectors only to uphold liquor laws

Click here for the full speech

Speech by
Kobus Botha, MPL
DA Shadow MEC for Human Settlements

“Housing delivery requires bold political leadership in Eastern Cape Province”

  • Eastern Cape housing target and budget shows decline
  • Eastern Cape municipalities lacks capacity to deliver houses
  • Better high-density housing and climate change research required
  • Alternative building technology a definite solution to reduce housing backlog
  • Bring manufacturing sector into housing delivery mix

Click here for the full speech

Speech by
Bobby Stevenson, MPL
DA Shadow MEC for Finance

“Budget fails to give real direction to the province”

  • Job shedding policies destroying opportunities in the Eastern Cape
  • Steps necessary to redirect funds in the province to service deliver
  • High cost of employees destroying service delivery

Click here for the full speech

Speech by
Ross Purdon, MPL
DA Shadow MEC for Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture

“Respect our heritage”

  • Libraries essential for community upliftment
  • EC boxing in a mess

Click here for the full speech

Speech by
Bobby Stevenson, MPL
DA Shadow MEC for Safety

“Shake up necessary in SAPS to restore a climate of safety in the province”

  • Climate of fear in the Eastern Cape
  • Restructure the SAPS
  • Bring back the specialised units
  • Rural safety important
  • Crime stats need to be readily available

Click here for the full speech

Speech by
Marshall von Buchenroder, MPL
DA Shadow MEC for Transport

“Fruitless and wasteful expenditure of the public purse”

  • Failing IPTS in Nelson Mandela Bay
  • Bring back 24-hour traffic service

Click here for the full speech

Speech by
Bobby Stevenson, MPL
DA Shadow MEC for Finance

“Billions can be redirected from unnecessary expenditure to service delivery”

  • The DA is opposed to Agriculture budget
  • Rising cost of COE takes budget in the wrong direction

Click here for the full speech

Budget vote speech: Treasury

By Langa Bodlani, DA MPL:

The following speech was delivered by Langa Bodlani DA MPL, to the Limpopo Provincial Legislature on 02 June 2015 during the Debate on the 2015 Budget of the Department of Treasury.

Madam Speaker

Honourable members

Ladies and gentlemen

The DA wishes to congratulate the new MEC Honourable Tooley as the new MEC for Treasury.

We hope you will continue with the measures that were put in place by your very able predecessor to make sure that not a department nor a state entity or local government sphere collapses because of lack of proper oversight.

To Honourable Phala, none dares the assertion that in your role as and as part of the executive, you played it par excellence.

Your erudition as a speaker, even if I have to confess myself, sometimes did dislodge us as the opposition.

More importantly your understanding of the legal framework within which treasury must operate gave us all hope that we were indeed on the path of financial recovery as a province.

Honourable  Member

The acknowledgement by the MEC on the mandate of his department to exercise control over implementation of the provincial budget by provincial departments is welcome by the DA.

We hope that with the appointments of the new staff, we will see improvement in the audit reports of the province.

Honourable Speaker

Whilst there was a decline in a number of qualified opinions and the decline in disclaimers there seems to be a continuation of instability with our municipalities.

Whist these are a sphere of government on their own, the law does allow the Treasury MEC to intervene when things have degenerated into utter collapse as is happening in a number of our municipalities.

The low expenditure patterns of conditional grants by Limpopo’s provincial departments are very concerning.

According to the document handed to the portfolio committee on provincial treasury, as at 31 January 2015, R5.3 billion out of R7.8 billion on conditional grants was spent. This effectively meant a mere 68.1 % of the entire budget on conditional grants was spent.

Honourable members

To put this in context, close to R2 billion worth of rands remain unlikely to be spent by the time the 2014/15 financial year ends on 31 March 2015.

Failure to spend these grants is an affront to our people who rely on government to provide them with services.

Madam Speaker

Coghsta is the worst performing department which recorded a failure to spend R559 million.

This failure to spend conditional grants is a reflection of poor management by the ANC.

Provincial Treasury is the custodian of our provincial coffers and MEC when he responds must tell Limpopo citizens how he plans to reverse this under-expenditure   trend in the province.

Honourable members

The worst performer, second only to Coghsta, is the department of Sports, Arts and Culture.  This department is responsible for our community’s libraries and yet it was only able to utilise R36 million out of R95 million when our communities are still struggling to have proper libraries with resources.

This annuls your own injunction that the doors of learning and culture shall be open.

Ladies and Gentlemen

The health department shifted R 42 million meant for HIV/AIDS grant to goods and services. This is totally unacceptable given the fact that our people who are on chronic medication are returned daily due to shortages of these medicines.

Treasury must play its effective oversight to make sure that these potentially illegal shifting of funds does not happen.