KZN Budget – Implementation the acid test

Johann Krog, MPP

DA KZN Spokesperson on Finance

The actual implementation of a no-nonsense KwaZulu-Natal Budget, aimed at cutting all unnecessary cost, will be the province’s acid test.

The Democratic Alliance welcomes MEC Ina Cronje’s budget plan. A baseline cut of R833 million and a cut of R1,123 million in the equitable share as a result of the census warrant stringent austerity measures. Those outlined by the MEC are crucial and the DA urges her to ensure that they are enforced across all departments.

The budget has addressed the majority of the DA’s concerns, in particular those aligned to front- line services such as Education, Health and Transport – the issues that most affect the people of the province on a daily basis.

The DA regards the following aspects of the budgets as positive;

* A budgeted surplus of approximately R1 billion per annum over the MTEF period

* The R7billion allocated to education, taking the budget from R35 to R42 billion. The focus must now turn towards implementing the Schools Transformation plan

* The allocation of R5 billion to Health. The focus on school health programmes and services is welcomed.

* The additional R2 billion allocated to Transport with the focus on pedestrian bridges, road maintenance and road safety programmes

* The allocation of R26 million to Safety and Security, part of which is to be spent on Community Policing Forums.

* The R280 million increase to Arts and Culture and the review of a R5 million budget cut to the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra and Playhouse Company.

* The R1.4 billion carry through cost on wage agreement.

* The immediate moratorium on filling of non-critical posts and review of organograms along with cut backs on all Subsistence and Travel and other unnecessary expenditure.

There are however, certain areas that we believe the MEC has failed to deal with. These include;

* Fraud must be addressed at the time of tender. The centralisation of all Supply Chain Management under Treasury with strict control is crucial in dealing with this. Massive sums of public money are being squandered through tender fraud

* Strict guidelines within HR will not work until this function is centralised and organograms evaluated and centrally controlled

* ECOD Budget – while the increase of R2 billion to this portfolio is welcomed, the DA remains concerned that this will not be spent in the right areas. Provincial government continues to plough money into KZN’s public entities which are ineffective and are failing to create jobs. These entities must be rationalised and more must be spent on Tourism in KZN.

* Funds allocated to the dismal One Home One Garden programme must be diverted to promote a One School One Garden initiative – 6 000 schools are better managed than 600 000 odd homes.

The DA is committed to its oversight role in the provincial government and supports the MEC’s cost saving budget. We believe that the MEC’s budget is excellent in theory. The hard part lies ahead in getting every department to put it into practice.

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The North West 2013-2014 Budget – More of the same with added appeasement allocations

Chris Hattingh MPL

Provincial Leader Democratic Alliance North-West

The North West Provincial Budget can be described as an ill-planned business as usual budget.

Apart from some very obvious attempts to appease agitated communities the lack of understanding of the delivery and capacity crisis, that has become endemic within the NW, overwhelms the budget.

The desperate chase to increase the matric pass rate continues in ignorance of the decline in the quality of the NW matric results. There is no focus on improving the quality of education with an increased salary budget absorbing most of the NW budget increases. There is further no attempt to address the lack of NW capacity and planning which saw the NW decreasing its output on infrastructural projects year after year. The MEC for Finance attempted to appease certain communities:

In a move reminiscent of the aftermath of the Skierlik tragedy where houses were promised to the community (and delivered only after six years) the MEC for Finance announced that R70million will be allocated to Housing in Marikana.

Similarly R236 million over the next 3 years has been allocated to Mahikeng for water, sanitation and rehabilitation projects. This annual allocation, augmented with the usual fiscal dumping at the end of the financial year into Mahikeng, does not take cognizance of the developing water crisis in other NW local authorities where no less than nine Municipalities suffered disrupted water provision during the past months. Incidentally, Mahikeng, in ignorance of receiving by far the biggest slice of the local government budget for years, also saw some of the most violent lack of delivery protests in the Province.

The third NW “appeasement project” is to focus the budget on the Taung Skull Project and to poverty alleviation projects in Taung – an area in which demands to be included into the Northern Cape, are becoming louder every year.

The lack of capacity and planning, a business as usual attitude and the inability of the North West Government to deliver on crucial infrastructure and developmental projects will see to it that the 2013-2014 budget will even have fewer positive outcomes for the NW community than the current budget.

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KZN Budget – Focus must be on areas that improve quality of life and bring opportunity

Johann Krog, MPP

DA KZN Spokesperson on Finance

The urgent prioritisation of front-line services such as Health, Education and Transport – in particular the state of the province’s roads – must be the focus of KZN Finance MEC Ina Cronje’s budget this week if it is to be a budget for the people. This is a time of global and national belt-tightening, which means we need a no-frills budget which sticks to the priorities needed by KZN and dumps the waste and politically-driven extravagance.

A quality health service, enhanced education system and a road network which encourages economic growth and reduces the number of lives lost are where the province’s most urgent fiscal obligations lie. These are the areas that talk directly to the people, both in terms of quality of life and opportunity.

Spending money wisely is a promise the Finance MEC makes every year. Yet tender fraud and corruption are rampant across every sphere of provincial government while political bigwigs remain unprosecuted. The province’s “crack team” is trying to deal with thousands of failed contracts, yet if SCM and tender procedures were followed there would be no need for such a team.

The MEC needs to take a more aggressive stance, starting with an instruction that Treasury administer the Supply Chain Management (SCM) process across all departments. Tenders must go through this department so that fraudsters can be stopped before they permeate the system.

As the DA, we firmly believe that sweeping changes are needed in order to direct funding towards key delivery areas. Any department, programme or civil service employee that does not add real value must go. In order to do more with less, the province must embark on an aggressive process of fiscal and organisational rationalisation.

We propose the following;

* Amend the mandate of the Office of the Premier so that it focuses only on the implementation of the Provincial Development Plan (PDP). The National Development Plan is a milestone – never before has South Africa had a national plan to which all major parties subscribe. The provincial plan must be executed without delay in KZN

* Curtail expenditure within the Royal Household Trust. This cannot be a “spend as you like” entity. If the current management cannot control expenditure then find people who can.

* As the National Development Plan notes, the key target of land reform must be to address the legacy that has left 30% of South Africa’s most fertile land unproductive, and under tribal tenure. This is why we are calling for urgent reform of the land ownership regime in these areas.

* Priority areas must be properly funded. This means allocating enough money for schools to be properly staffed and hospitals and clinics to be staffed, repaired and maintained. Where it is cost-effective let’s back state-aided institutions as this means lower costs per patient and keeps facilities open.

* Stop employing more legislature staff. A ballooning civil service has drastically reduced infrastructure spend. The KZN development plan cites Education as a priority yet cuts in teacher allocations to schools are affecting standards while other departments are expanding their organograms.

* Do away with expensive jamborees such as Parliament to the People and replace these outings with smaller study tours. Tighten up on travel and subsistence and other claims.

* Apply a radical downsizing policy within the legislature. Restructure top heavy departments and move smaller under-performing departments such as Sport and Recreation, Arts and Culture and Social Development to Education.

* Do away with Public Works in the province. This process is already duplicated within each department. Likewise, close Sports and Recreation and Arts and Culture and re-assign these functions where they belong – to schools and local councils.

* Do away with all government programmes that provide little or no value and spend the money on infrastructure such as maintaining provincial roads. These include Youth Ambassadors and Social Development community workers.

* Rationalise public entities such as RB IDZ, TIK, ADA and the Growth Fund in order to reduce crippling overheads. Every year the Auditor-General finds fault in this area, yet nothing changes.

If implemented, these proposals will begin to address the critical challenges facing KwaZulu-Natal. They will assist in restoring confidence, improving the economy, encouraging investment, boosting economic growth and reducing unemployment.

Consolidation is crucial. Provincial government must cut its cloth accordingly, work smart and offer delivery where it counts.

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Eastern Cape Provincial budget expectations

Bobby Stevenson MPL

Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature Leader and Spokesperson on Finance

The provincial budget for the 2013/14 financial year which will be introduced in the Bhisho Legislature tomorrow by the MEC for Finance and Provincial Planning must set the right environment that is conducive to creating jobs, reducing poverty and improving service delivery.

Until the province is prepared to deal with the bloated an inefficient civil service, it will never have the resources to meet the challenges of the Eastern Cape. MEC Masualle promised to address this last year, and nothing has happened.

The foundation of a growth-friendly environment is clean and efficient administration.

The DA expects Finance MEC Phumulo Masualle to introduce the annual budget in the region of R60 billion, consisting of provincial equitable share, conditional grants and own revenue. It is expected that 75% of the budget will be allocated to education and health.

He will be doing so in the context of tight fiscal space, brought about by declining tax revenues, the consequences of the 2011 National Census and the top-slicing needed for unauthorised expenditure.

I expect the MEC to focus on the following areas:

* How economic growth in the Eastern Cape will be stimulated;

* The rising cost of state employees, which amount to 70% of the equitable share component of the budget;

* The consequences for poor financial management and maladministration;

* The implications of the R5,1 billion cut in the equitable share of the province, over a three-year period, due to the results of the 2011 National Census;

* The under expenditure on capital;

* Civil servants doing business with the province; and

* The implementation of the National Development Plan in the Eastern Cape.

Budgets are an ideological issue. However, if we adopt the right policy choices, this province can become the place of raising opportunity in which the quality of life of all our people can be improved. On Thursday we will be watching very closely to what extent these policy choices are made.

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The DA’s priorities for Gauteng’s Budget

Mike Moriarty MPL

Spokesperson on Finance

Gauteng Finance MEC Mandla Nkomfe will table the budget for Gauteng in the Provincial Legislature today. If the MEC has been responsible and sensitive to the needs of the people in our province he will make enough money available to tackle the problems the ordinary person faces day after day.

The DA’s Priorities for Gauteng’s Budget serve as suggestions for the MEC and as a benchmark against which we will measure this year’s spending and the priorities of the provincial government as a whole.

The DA’s priorities outlines budget proposals to:

* Create more jobs for Gauteng; * Stabilise and improve health care services and social development programmes; * Improve quality of education outcomes in the province; * Cutting back on corruption and wasteful expenditure of public money; * Addressing the housing backlog in the province; * Ensuring agricultural sustainability and boosting eco-tourism; * Prioritising community safety and the fight against crime; and * Cleaning up and empowering local government to ensure effective and accountable service delivery to local communities.

The budget for Gauteng must demonstrate a commitment to leaner, cleaner government that spends on key priority areas such as health and education, while creating an environment to encourage investment, boost economic growth and reduce unemployment.

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KZN Appropriation Bill 2012 speech

Sizwe Mchunu, MPP

Leader of the DA in the KZN Legislature

Speaker

There are very few adjustments that we are going to comment on or oppose, partly because we have had very little time to interrogate the adjustment thoroughly and we do urge the planning committee to ensure that we are not placed in this position again.

Having said that, we do congratulate the Treasury for the innovative spread-sheet which enables us to track the effects of the adjustments on our funds.

Our business in this house revolves around three elements:

Firstly we are responsible for the expenditure of funds, and MEC Cronje has gained our confidence both in terms of the transparency of her reports, but also because of her clear and hard line on reducing wasteful expenditure and her repeated call for value for money. So we are happy with the money side of our business presented in this report.

The second element is management, the role of all the legislative structure to carry through the programmes effectively. This is not the platform to elaborate on this.

The third element is time, and it is here that we see our current policies and programmes failing. In the business world we have the concept of capital turnover: the more often a company can turn over its working capital in a trading cycle, the more profit is made. If we apply that analogy to our business we are not doing well. We are simply not in a big enough hurry to fix the profit drivers under our care. We can blame officials for merely occupying a job rather than rushing to realize a vision, but we also need to examine our macro policies.

The most depressing aspect of MEC Cronje’s report is news of a freeze on expenditure over the next 3 years, particularly in the face of continued inability to fix our education. The DA has always supported responsible budgeting, but we also support anti-cyclical spending on infrastructure. It is hard to understand the lack of urgency in fixing this problem now with deficit spending rather than trying to reduce the debt ratio for future benefits to the economy. We have argued in the past for reallocation of our allocated funds to this problem but we have also called for another R2billion pa from national.

The Hon Duma spoke yesterday on using criteria outside of the PFMA when assessing the success of departments. We have sympathy with that view. Fiscal discipline needs to be balanced against the need for the timeous resolution of essential structural fractures in our government. We hope he will have a chat with MEC Cronje on this point.

To the details of the report, the DA has the following reservations:

We will be calling a division in Vote 3 around the allocation of R34m to Youth ambassadors. We have never had a convincing reason for this initiative and until we do we will oppose what we see as wasteful expenditure.

We object or have concerns around the following:

1. The annual gap between budgeted % salary increases and those that actually are given at national level, as well as the shortfalls that occur between actual OSD costs and reimbursements from national. It is quite inexplicable that members of the same government can’t sort this out.

2. The inadequate allocation of R3million to the Integrity Management unit in vote 1.

3. The continued funding of both the Makahatini Development project and Mjindi farming project is bothersome without evidence of measureable returns.

4. The expenditure of R25 million on a new asset management system for Public Works begs the question of the wasted expenditure on the previous system, Premis.

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DA REJECTS MEC MANDLA NKOMFE’S EMPTY PROMISES

Mike Moriarty, DA MPL

DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Finance

While Gauteng Finance MEC Mandla Nkomfe made all the right comments in his budget vote speech yesterday, we are unlikely to see a performance that lives up to the promise. The MEC should have announced some radical changes in his tabled budget, due to fundamental problems in the Gauteng Department of Finance.

There are programmes that cost hundreds of millions of rand every year but which fail to deliver value for money. For example, the Department of Finance carries the remnants of the Gauteng Shared Services Centre (GSSC), an entity that was set up in an irregular manner and is now being unbundled.

The largest portion of the budget in the Department of Finance is devoted to Technical Support Services, of which most goes to Gauteng Online. This programme is meant to deliver an enhanced education experience through free access to internet-based teaching tools. The department claims to have successfully rolled out the system to 1500 schools and now wants to roll out to 600 more schools. I dispute this claim and would like to see a credible survey that demonstrates active participation and improved pass rates from learners in townships. A “successful implementation” does not simply mean a computer in a school that is linked to a server somewhere.

The Gauteng Department of Finance is also responsible for evaluating various tender bids in the province and there are indications that corruption abounds in the awarding of contracts. However when corruption is apparent there is no clear and decisive action against the alleged perpetrators. A few examples include the Sibize Call Centre contract and the various contracts around Gauteng Motorsport.

The Democratic Alliance sincerely hopes to see the political will needed to ensure that there are drastic improvements in respect of non-payment of suppliers, tender corruption and problems with Gauteng Online.

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Will Budget Keep Sinking ship Afloat?

Anthony Benadie MPL

DA Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga

The following address was delivered by Anthony Benadie to the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature on 07 June 2012, during the debate on the 2012/13 Mpumalanga Appropriation Bill.

The Appropriation Bill before us is aimed at not only funding the operations of government, but most critically to deliver government services to the people of our province.

That said, Honourable Speaker, the premise of passing this Bill must be the extent to which the financial allocations made to each department meets the needs of people and are used for the purposes they were intended.

Of concern, is that this is not always the case.

In the report before us, several departments indicate that the funds being appropriated to them are insufficient to adequately implement their performance plans and achieve their mandate. This is not always because insufficient funds are appropriated, but because corruption, wasteful expenditure and poor financial management divert funds from the core destination, namely service delivery.

In this light, the real question before us is whether life will be different with the implementation of this bill, or are we merely funding the status quo – claiming insufficient funds to deliver, while accommodating wastage and corruption.

Honourable Speaker, while the DA in principle supports the Bill, we remain concerned that it is merely keeping a sinking ship afloat. The performance of government over the past year has done little to transform Mpumalanga into a developmental state. Unemployment and poverty remain our single biggest challenge, while the quality of service delivery at provincial and municipal levels continues to decline.

The ongoing service delivery protests amplify government’s failure to address the needs of citizens, while all too often providing a legitimising front to ANC faction fighting.

Honourable Speaker, nowhere is the brunt of government failure more visible than in our hospitals and clinics. The poor care provided to our province’s people has turned many facilities into a health risk, rather than a safe haven for recovery. Huge vacancy rates within this department, coupled with the poor treatment of patients, place every person in the care of this department at risk, often leading to death. For this reason, the DA will not support Budget vote 10, the Department of Health.

Similarly, we believe that the deterioration of government services is as a result of the poor leadership at the helm of our government. Premier Mabuza and his office have idly watched service delivery collapsing, with little to no desire to intervene. Under his leadership, government has become reactionary, by responding to protests and instilling a culture of constant crisis management. As a result, we will not be supporting Budget vote 1, the Office of the Premier, and we challenge the Premier to continue the tone set during the sitting last week, and regain the trust and support of the opposition by placing the needs of Mpumalanga’s people at the centre of governments agenda.

Honourable Speaker, I am pleased to say that this year the DA will support the Department of Education’s budget. We recognise the granting of an unqualified audit report by the Auditor-General as a step in the right direction for this department, and despite the numerous challenges that remain, we are hopeful that the MEC and her department will continue improving the quality of education to our province’s learners.

Honourable Speaker, in conclusion, I repeat the DA’s appeal for the introduction of a Youth Wage Subsidy. When considering the magnitude of this budget, through proper planning, it is easily affordable, and the benefits extensive. The youth of our province deserve real opportunities that can set them on the path of sustained employment and advancement, thereby ensuring a sustainable future for all in Mpumalanga.

Honourable Speaker, with the exception of Vote 1 and 10, the DA supports the budget before us.

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KZN Budget Votes Declaration

Sizwe Mchunu, MPP     Leader of the Democratic Alliance in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature    

  The Democratic Alliance does not oppose for opposition’s sake.  We oppose a vote or programme so as to signal where we would do things differently if we were leading the government of this province.  The following indicates our position with regard to the budget votes as tabled in this House.       Vote 1                                      Office of the Premier

  The DA opposes this entire vote and will call for a division on the grounds of wasteful expenditure across the Office of the Premier and the failure to report on the status and outcome of forensic audits.  The Youth Ambassadors programme costing R52 million is a particular example of a wasteful policy initiative which should be terminated.       Vote 2                                      Legislature

  The DA supports this vote with the exception of Programme 2 – The Legislature to the People.  This exercise is a waste of public funds.       Vote 3                                      Agriculture, Conservation and Environmental Affairs

   The DA supports this budget but opposes Programme 1 – Administration.  This programme has seen a massive increase in budget along with the appointment of two Chief Directorates with no clear purpose.  While the department is moving towards commercial assistance for emerging farmers, the business model being used is ineffective.  Public entities controlled by this Department eg Mjindi Farms need radical supervision to become viable.       Vote 4                          Economic Affairs and Tourism

    The DA supports this vote but we believe that the same problems exist.  We expect to see a forensic audit into the management of the Dube Trade Port before too long.  It is currently not being run properly – a great pity given the massive support that it could be for agriculture in this province.       Vote 5                          Education

  The DA will be opposing this entire vote because the budget is insufficient to fix education in the short term. The present ANC plan will lead to an eventual resolution of problems and catch-up on backlogs but the youth of SA can’t wait that long. The inadequate budget is testimony of skewed priorities within the ANC and a dishonest claim that education is their number one priority.  The DA would make Education a real priority and provide the funds to realise this objective.     Vote 6                          Provincial Treasury

  The DA supports this budget.       Vote 7                          Health

  The DA supports this budget.       Vote 8                          Human Settlements

  The DA supports this budget. However, we remain concerned about the reduction of housing targets within Ethekwini from 16 000 to 13 000 to 5 000 during the last two years – and now to a new target of 7 500 over the MTEF period. Ethekwini has the biggest backlog with 412 000 housing units being required with the provincial backlog sitting at more than a million.  Under spending by this department cannot be permitted.  The DA wants to see title deeds within Ingonyama Trust land.  The MEC also needs to move rapidly to site and service housing delivery. The department’s CRU program has also failed and there is an urgent need for this department to critically examine the future of hostels         Vote 9                          Community Safety and Liaison

  The DA supports this budget.     Vote 10                        Royal Household

  The DA supports this budget but opposes Programme 3 – the King’s farms.  Since 1999/2000 there has been a drive to make these farms self-sustaining yet R50 million is still being allocated to ensure their survival.     Vote 11                        Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs

  The DA supports this budget.     Vote 12                        Transport

  The DA supports this budget but opposes Programme 1, 2 and 3.  The DA opposes Programme 1 (Administration) on the basis that costly events, which are little more than ANC canvassing, continue to be held around the province.  We oppose Programme 2 which includes the current budget allocated to road building costs.  We oppose Programme 3 – Transport Operations – on the basis that no allocation has been made for the co-ordination or incorporation of rail transport.  This goes against the KZN Premier’s commitment in his State of the Province address earlier this year.     Vote 13                        Social Development

  The DA opposes this budget on a policy basis.  We believe that this department should fall under the Health department.     Vote 14                        Public Works 

  The DA opposes this budget on a policy basis.  Duplication of functions between Public Works and service departments result in a waste of money. International best practice recommends devolution of infrastructure to service departments. High administration costs and difficulty in sourcing skilled technical staff have been a long standing problem and are unlikely to improve without new thinking on how to restructure Public Works.     Vote 15                        Arts and Culture

  The DA supports this budget.     Vote 16                        Sport and Recreation

  The DA will oppose the entire vote of this Department.  Sport and Recreation continues to spend money in a haphazard way instead of integrating its programmes with other departments and municipalities. The school sports programme is merely window dressing that comes nowhere near to addressing the huge backlog in school sports facilities and the almost total absence of extra-curriculum programmes in all schools except ex-model C schools.         The Democratic Alliance supports the entire budget for KwaZulu-Natal.  We recognise the serious efforts made by the provincial Treasury to improve accountability and governance and remain committed to holding all MECs accountable for public funds voted for their departments.

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Getting the Priorities Right

Radley Keys, MPP

Chief Whip to the DA in the KZN Legislature / DA KZN Legislature Spokesperson

Speech Extract

THE mark of a successful government is, firstly, the promulgation of legislation that understands and takes cognisance of the implications and consequences of laws passed on the people of the province and the economy of the province, and secondly, whether these laws can be implemented or whether the province has the capacity and the will to ensure their implementation. Too often laws are promulgated with good intentions, but, have disastrous consequences on the economy and the people of our country.

This parliament is the supreme law making body in the province – it elects the premier, it oversees the executive and it must ensure that the Rule of Law is enforced. Unfortunately, this House has allowed itself to be manipulated by and dictated to by the executive. When we in the opposition call MECs to account, too often the response is arrogance and contempt. Some MECs consider that this House is irrelevant – note those who are regularly absent citing urgent government business as their excuse. Today in this House, note how many MECs are absent. Indeed a reflection of the disdain with which they hold this House in. Chairperson, the Speaker is the custodian of this House and these MECs are being allowed to get away with murder.

The DA opposes programme 2 of this vote – year after year we emphasize that TPTP is a grandiose ANC campaign at taxpayers’ expense, on top of the almost 20 million rand the ANC receives from this province’s budget. Clearly that is not enough, so they raid the purse in many other ways, and TPTP is but one of these daylight robberies. It is a blatant abuse of power by the ANC having its hands firmly on this parliament’s budget. This raises a further concern – that of procurement. In no other department is there an event that lasts for two days that spends in excess of R2.5 million. A host of service providers lick their lips and smile all the way to the bank when TPTP occurs.

The DA supports and encourages more committee and multi-party visits to communities. It is in these forums that the people are heard, that their concerns are taken seriously, not in TPTP. The only outcome at TPTP events is that thousands of people get a free meal and leave after that. The public gallery is empty after lunch. Does that not tell us something? Let’s get a life and stop this wasteful and truly useless expenditure. That R2.5 million spent on erecting enormous tents and bringing in caterers and toilet providers, electricity and water and everything else that goes with this circus can be better used to improve the schools, roads and hospitals in our province. We need to seriously relook at what is being achieved by these biannual bush camps called TPTP and rather extend those programmes that give us information about the people we serve.

Another area where we need to see cuts is that of overseas study trips. Currently, MMP’s are able to go on four trips a year. This needs to be halved, particularly when one considers that the average cost of these fact-finding missions is in the region of R2 million per trip.

As custodian of the House, the Speaker must ensure that we are an example of administrative excellence. Much good is done and as a representative body a lot has been achieved through the committees of this House. For that, we commend the Speaker’s office and pledge our support in programmes that ensure that good laws emanate from this House and that the executive is held to account.

However, one wonders how it is possible that a Member of this House who sits among the governing party’s members is a recipient of two salaries – one from this province, and one from the AU. Why is this allowed to continue? Another matter of concern is in the Speaker’s office. We now have a manager of the Speaker’s Responsibility Programme without, I am informed, that post even appearing on the organogram of the Speaker’s office. If this is true, the Speaker’s office is sidelining the staffing procedures and unilaterally appointing people it considers it needs without going through the correct procedures. This needs to be responded to by the Speaker. And, we look forward to the response.

Finally, our core business is stated up front, but there is a sickness in our society – while 80% of the people in our province are reeling under economic duress we continue expanding the benefits to ourselves. I refer to the drivers MPPs have taken on as if it is their right. I thank the Speaker for addressing this matter, and we hope the abuse is stopped in its tracks. I also refer to study aid available to Members – we are among the top 10% earners in the province, but we still want the taxpayer to pay for our university tuition to the tune of R20 000 per year. It is time that is revoked and we pay for our own education. No one here can say they cannot afford it. I say, prioritise your spending if you can’t afford it.

The DA is pleased to see no progress in the developing of an in-house gym in these precincts. Go sign up at your local gym, take up soccer, netball, or even golf if you feel you need to exercise, but do not burden the taxpayer with your unhealthy lifestyle. Let’s get healthy and stay healthy so we can perform the core function we are paid to perform which is to make KZN a model province where the Rule of Law reigns supreme.

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