Gauteng’s mid-year adjustment budget will tell the story of lost opportunities, lack of accountable leadership and lacklustre performance which has had a severe impact on service delivery in the province.
The devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been worsened by reckless and irresponsible governance and our people remain at the losing end of the stick.
This budget comes after Premier Panyaza Lesufi’s promises of creating a provincial state bank, state pharmacy, advertising for 6000 job opportunities for crime prevention wardens, R650 million for reclaiming spaza shops in Gauteng townships as well as a state farm for nyoape addicts. The e-Toll bill that Gauteng residents must contribute to currently stands at R12,9 billion. Different revenue streams in the form of a “hybrid model” will have to be found to raise the necessary funds.
Tomorrow, the MEC for Finance, Jacob Mamabolo, will be delivering the adjustment budget for the province in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) for the 2022/23 financial year.
In the National Division of Revenue Amendment Bill 2022, the Gauteng province did not receive any additional funding through equitable share or conditional grants.
The slow spending on the department’s infrastructure budgets will not assist the current provincial government to grow Gauteng if the following departments continue to record poor performance:
• Social Development
• Human Settlements
• Roads and Transport
• GDARD – Also considering adjusting budget downwards with R2,5m
Infrastructure development is most important during the current economic crisis with the highest recorded youth unemployment figures in a long time. Infrastructure development provides a foundation for economic and social activity and is critical if sustainable growth is to be secured.
One of the biggest responsibilities of the Premier is to ensure the conditions are there for a growing job-creating economy. The fact that his departments are failing in their infrastructure spending which is critical to a growing economy is a major red light and is the flip side of his apparent generosity to townships.
This is not the budget of a senior politician who is looking to a growing economy for all residents of Gauteng but one of a politician desperately trying to shore up support in a particular group that was once a base but who is seeing through their incompetence and underperformance.
The DA proposes that instead of Premier Lesufi focusing on buying votes for the upcoming 2024 general elections, by making promises he will not be able to fund without taxing residents, even more, he along with MEC Mamabolo should focus on assisting departments in spending their budgets on time. This will ensure that for every rand spent there is value for money, and that residents on the ground receive the services this government has to date not been able to deliver to better their lives.