The Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (DID) has reduced its budget for the maintenance and repair of public infrastructure in 2016/2017 by more than 60% of what it spent in the 2015/2016 financial year – equating to a reduction of more than R1.5 billion.
The justification for this decision needs to be explained by the department in light of the fact that the creation and maintenance of infrastructure has been highlighted by the Premier as a key driver to contribute towards the stimulation of Gauteng’s economy.
Gauteng MEC for Finance, Barbara Creecy, has indicated that “efficient infrastructure allocations aim to support the recovery of the regional economy and employment creation”.
Maintenance is different from the building of new infrastructure in that the DID is aware of all its building assets that currently exist, as well as any new assets that will be built during the course of the next financial year.
It therefore seems reasonable to suggest that armed with this information, the department should be able to accurately determine the amount of money required to maintain these assets.
If there are no additional sources of finance for maintenance, one must assume that assets, which are already in a poor state, will further deteriorate.
What exacerbates the issue of insufficient budget is the fact that the maintenance department has too few skilled officials to manage the work and to gain the maximum benefit from the computer systems installed for this purpose.
These dynamics together with DID’s poor record of appointing skilled contractors will inevitably result in a deterioration of assets and increase the likelihood of events such as the collapse of the roof at Charlotte Maxeke hospital.
|Alan Fuchs MPL|
|DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Infrastructure Development|
|060 558 8313|