The mid-term adjustment budget delivered by Gauteng MEC for Finance, Jacob Mamabolo is an admission that government departments are struggling to spend their budget in a manner that will provide basic service delivery to all our residents.
Today, MEC Mamabolo announced that there will be a rollover of R1.6 billion. The Gauteng Department of Health has the biggest rollover of over R1.1 billion. This is very worrying as currently there is a huge underspending on infrastructure in the province.
For the remainder of the current government’s term the following key priorities have been identified:
• Economic recovery and reconstruction
• Strengthening the battle against crime, corruption, vandalism and overcoming lawlessness
• Changing the living conditions in townships, informal settlements, and hostels
• Prioritisation of the health and wellness of people
• Strengthening the capacity of the state
Infrastructure is one of the key drivers of the economy and if more is not done by the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) the current government facilities will not be able to cater to the needs of our residents, as the population in the province is growing on a daily basis.
MEC Mamabolo claims that this province has state-of-the-art infrastructure including roads, airports, rails, and premium digital connectivity. Yet when our motorists use our roads, they are faced with numerous potholes and a rail system that is not always operational.
Furthermore, there are plans in place to seek alternative funding for the e-Tolls debt and establish a state-owned bank and a state-owned pharmaceutical company. This will take time and will not be completed before the next general elections which are to be held in 2024.
The proposed state-owned bank appears to be a duplication of the work that the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP) is supposed to do. It is high time that this entity starts to deliver on its mandate to assist small businesses, particularly those operating in the townships.
In order to change the living conditions in hostels, townships and informal settlements, the dysfunctional Department of Human Settlements will need to get their act together as a matter of urgency.
If the GPG is committed to building a capable state in this province under the leadership of Premier Lesufi and MEC Mamabolo, the DA proposes the following solutions:
• Ensure that consequence management takes place where budgets are not spent within the allocated time frame
• Conduct an audit of all officials in the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (GDID) to make sure they have the necessary skills needed to implement infrastructure projects
• Audit all entities and ensure that they are delivering on their mandate instead of creating new entities
• Reduce the amount of money spent on consultants by government departments
• Cut the red tape so that more small businesses are able to do business with the government
Gauteng residents deserve a government that is capable of delivering basic services to all, while still ensuring that there is value for money.