The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng notes today’s special adjustment budget that was delivered by the MEC for Finance and e-Government, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko for the 2020/2021 financial year.
During the tabling of this special adjustment budget it was clear that the impact of COVID-19 on the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) expenditure budget is minimal and that the bulk of the additional funding would come from reprioritizing current departmental budgets through savings.
But the DA is concerned about the serious impact this has on the financial sustainability of our local municipalities.
During her special adjustment budget speech, the MEC announced an upward adjustment of R4 billion from the March budget that was tabled.
Economic relief measures are being implemented to assist the economy to recover and build a new economy. While we welcome this, it is a little too late as we have seen many businesses close because there were no relief measures in place earlier.
Whilst Growing Gauteng Together projects remains a priority this government needs to be proactive when it comes to protecting businesses and jobs in the province.
Furthermore, the MEC reiterated that fiscal sustainability remains critical.
The additional funds were allocated to the following departments:
- R2.1 billion for Health for phase 1,2 and 3 of HR capacitation and R786 million for Covid 19 infrastructure relief
- R5.2 billion for Education for getting schools ready, financing catch up programmes, screening of teachers and pupils as well as for water and sanitation
- R257 million for Social Development for PPE equipment and shelter for the homeless
- R46.5 million for Community Safety for community patrollers and overtime for traffic officers
- R79.4 million for Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture for artists and sporting professionals
In addition, the MEC also stated that safeguarding our residents’ livelihoods is important and government needs to make sure that their hard earn taxes are used appropriately so that there is value for money.
Some of the savings that provincial government made came from the delays in filling vacant posts, since the HR capacitation has prioritised filling vacancies in the Health Department, leading to other departments delaying the filling of vacant positions.
The DA will be supporting this budget on a conditional basis. I will be closely monitoring how this new budget is spent to ensure that all the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) departments and entities adhere to the regulations put in place by National and Provincial Treasury. In addition, there should be transparency and accountability in order to eliminate corruption and inflating of prices by the suppliers.