Well-connected political elite continue to prosper at detriment of ordinary citizens
Gauteng Finance MEC, Barbara Creecy’s 2017/18 budget is out of tune with the tough economic climate faced by millions of Gauteng’s residents – and will continue to perpetuate a system where the well-connected political elite will continue to prosper at the detriment of ordinary citizens.
MEC Creecy indicated that Gauteng’s share tax income has diminished due to constraints placed on National Treasury – but instead of working smart with less, no tangible cost containment measures have been put in place to curb exorbitant expenditure on travel, catering, advertising and events, despite the statements in her speech.
The much publicised open tender system has not been rolled out effectively enough to combat tender fraud. Only R9.3billion spread across 38 tenders have undergone the open tender system – the majority remain behind closed doors, and this is nearly three years after the launch!
Administration needs to do more with less
While the ring-fencing of R12.5 billion for infrastructure projects is welcome, it must be noted that there has been a drastic cut to the infrastructure budget for roads. This at a time when the first phase of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project has reached the end of its lifespan, and no inclusive transport plans have been made available other than the announcement to expand the Gautrain. The MEC’s silence on e-Tolls is telling after the Premier washed his hands of the issue in his State of the Province Address.
In the previous financial year, the ANC-led administration put aside R100 million rand to bolster its election support through what it labelled “voter education”. Given the recent Life Esidimeni debacle, it is disheartening that the same emphasis could not be placed on ring-fencing funds to assist mentally ill patients.
While the increased funding to Health and Education is most welcome, it arises from the need to pay last year’s bills with this year’s money however this money could have been used to address current challenges. Service providers must be paid on-time, in line with legislation and new schools must be completed to spec, within budget and on time.
MEC Creecy spoke about the increased need for cooperation between the private and public sector, yet she down plays the fact that the ANC, under President Jacob Zuma is slowly eroding private property rights – a point that will deter investment.
This administration needs to do more with less for the people of Gauteng, but until those who operate behind the scenes – who manipulate tenders, inflate costs and collude are brought under control, residents of the province will not benefit from this budget.
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC on Finance
060 556 4342
DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Finance
060 558 8303