Gauteng residents need a government that will invest in infrastructure projects to improve service delivery

In the DA’s Vision, the government enables an economy that creates jobs, elevates people out of poverty and provides opportunity for all South Africans. A government can do this by investing heavily in infrastructure projects that improve service delivery, thereby uplifting the lives of our people through better schools, better health services and better transport systems.  

That’s why WesGro in the Western Cape has succeeded in raising more than R5billion in foreign direct investment through which 3000 new jobs were secured, far exceeding its targets.  

But if we compare this performance to that of the GIFA, the funding agency that is kept alive by part of budget vote 14, you can only but feel disappointed.  

Each year, the GIFA provides a list of its projects. Some disappear from one year to the next. Some projects re-appear a year or two later. Very seldom do projects reach the point where construction work begins, bringing hope of jobs and more capacity for service delivery. 

In our quarterly and annual reports, not only do we see missed targets but also losses like R4.69m due to fruitless and wasteful expenditure.  

The wage bill of this entity has skyrocketed and increased by R4 059 000 to R30 625 000.  

The Finance Committee recently engaged with clients of the agency. We heard about delays upon delays and the supportive voices could point out R5-6 million of sponsorship of feasibility studies here and there and the tabling of the odd spreadsheet every now and again.  

My impression was that those clients were grateful for the money, believing at some stage that there would be public-private partnerships that would give the headache of infrastructure financing and construction to someone else. But very little has been seen of these much-anticipated partnerships. GIFA ascribes this failure to “lack of appetite in the market”.   

Thus, they invariably turn to DBSA. Colleagues, the client departments could have just picked up the phone to DBSA themselves. Frankly, the GIFA’s resources could be better applied elsewhere.  

But where Gauteng fails Western Cape succeeds. I strongly urge that we follow their example and see that our people get jobs, better schools, health facilities, roads and housing.  

I thank you.