Building new schools and funding of Special Economic Zones should be a budget priority for 2022/2023

Tomorrow, the MEC for Finance, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko will be presenting the 2022/2023 budget at the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.

During her speech tomorrow she will outline exactly how much money has been allocated to Gauteng and how the province intends to spend this money.

We know that the last two years have been extremely tough on the Gauteng province because of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has also exposed just how deep the corruption runs in our government departments.

During tomorrow’s budget speech we hope to see that money allocated for the delivery of services, especially for the building and maintaining of new infrastructure is spent wisely.

This is extremely important given the fact that Premier David Makhura during his State of the Province Address (SOPA) highlighted that the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (GDID) has failed miserably on its mandate to deliver on key infrastructure projects in the province.

This means that money has been allocated to an entire department that is unable to fulfil its mandate. These funds should rather be allocated directly to the departments which are currently dependent on the services rendered by GDID. This will ensure that the infrastructure that is built is sound and that there is value for money.

The Gauteng Broadband Network must be prioritized during this year’s budget if we want every household in Gauteng to have access to a reliable wifi connection. This is extremely important if we want our residents to be able to access government services online.

Adequate and dignified housing remains a problem in Gauteng, especially because of the high in-migration that takes place on a yearly basis. During the 2021 budget, the Department of Human Settlements received a huge increase, yet it is still failing to deliver dignified housing to our residents in Gauteng.

In-migration also has an impact on our education system and because of this we need to build 90 new schools urgently and we also need to eradicate all the asbestos schools in the province. The only way this can be achieved is through Public Private Partnerships.

The Gauteng Provincial Government must acknowledge that it cannot deliver on this massive task and needs to win the trust of the private sector through effective, transparent, and honest governance and by delivering projects on time and within budget.

To bolster our economy, the DA agrees that Special Economic Zones (SEZs) must be prioritized. Red tape and complicated procedures must be cut to make it easier for small businesses to do business with government. Small businesses are key to creating more job opportunities in our province as often these businesses hire unemployed residents, particularly the youth from the surrounding communities in which they operate.

Furthermore, Gender Based Violence (GBV) remains a huge problem in our province, as women and girls are more at risk of sexual abuse during crises such as Covid-19; the DA hopes that more funding is allocated to recovery programmes to assist our residents who may be victims of GBV. Funding allocation must include prevention and response plans, medical care, sexual and reproductive health services, counselling, shelters and legal assistance.

The DA will be closely monitoring the allocations to all the departments for the 2022/2023 financial year. We will also be looking at how this money will be spent so that we can ensure that our residents of Gauteng receive the service delivery they rightfully deserve.