Housing Budget: Diminished Funds, More Demands

With a backlog of nearly 1 million houses in Gauteng, the Department of Human Settlement’s budget for the 2016/17 financial year was slashed by nearly a R1 billion.

In 2015/16 the department received a budget of R5.9 billion, this year it will only receive R5.8 billion.

Due to the departments failure to effectively roll out housing, the National Department of Human Settlements pulled the plug on R980 million worth of funding, which in the previous financial year could have built 7 567 houses.

Human settlements is the only department in the Gauteng Provincial Government that did not receive an increase in its budget.

Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, along with Finance MEC Barbara Creecy and MEC for Human Settlements, Paul Mashatile must lobby national government with a turnaround strategy to ensure that this grant will be re-allocated.

The department cannot go another year failing to deliver its mandate – ultimately keeping the provinces most marginalised trapped in the cycle of homelessness.

 

Media enquiries:

Mervyn Cirota MPL

DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Human Settlements

060 558 8312

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Gauteng Drought Relief Funding Not Enough To Stop Food Shortages

National Disaster

The R20 million drought relief set aside by Gauteng Finance MEC, Barbara Creecy, in her 2016/17 budget will offer small relief to the agricultural sector in the province when at least a R140 million is required to mitigate the impact the drought has had.

This drought, the worst in 104 years, has had a tremendous impact on the 720 smallholders and 500 commercial farmers in the province that there has been an increase in the number of unemployed farm workers, increased food prices, food insecurity among the poorest of the poor and will see many farmers going out of business.

The DA calls on Gauteng Premier David Makhura and his cabinet to push to have an agricultural drought declared in Gauteng, in support of the declaration of a National Disaster.

Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

Premier Makhura must also ensure that the drought relief includes support in the commercial sector such as farm worker wage subsidies, providing soft production loans for farmers in severe distress, rigorously introducing conservation agriculture principles in all Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development activities, and providing interest rate subsidies to commercial farmers in distress for the winter planting season.

If these steps are not followed immediately, Gauteng will not only face an agricultural drought, but also a socio-economic drought where physical water shortages will directly affect the health and daily prospects of the people of Gauteng.

 

Media enquiries:

Ina Cilliers MPL

DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Agriculture

060 556 4344

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Gauteng Finance MEC Presents An Election Budget

Election Budget

While Gauteng Finance MEC, Barbara Creecy, owned up the dire financial and economic realities facing the province, it did not stop her from tabling an election budget for the 2016/17 financial year.

This was revealed in the advertising spend which has dramatically increased across all departments from the slight 0.8% reduction in previous financial year.

The Office of the Premier had, in 2015/16 been allocated a budget of R24 million, which then rose to R26 million. This year’s allocation for advertising has increased to R27million and will likely be adjusted upwardly again later on in the year.

The same pattern is evident in the Department of Education who ran their advertising up to R43 million, despite only having a budget of R14 million. This year their advertising budget is R18 million, but with it being an election year, this figure is likely to treble.

“Cost Containment” Budget

In MEC Creecy’s so called “cost containment” budget, there was no mention of the reduction in the use of consultants – a big money gobbler.

One of the main offenders, The Office of the Premier, has incurred the largest budget for the use of consultants, going up from R27.6 million last year to R52.4 million this year.

If critical posts were filled with qualified and competent staff, a lot of money could be saved on the use of consultants.

Last year, 55% of the budget was used to pay salaries, and this year the figure remains the same. However, it is concerning, that should these salaries increase above inflation – as they did last year –  there are no contingency reserves to pay the shortfall.

In an election year, to keep alliance partners happy, it is unlikely that salary increase demands will not be met.

E-tolls

MEC Creecy successfully managed to avoid the topic of the e-tolls. By doing so she failed to elaborate on how the next phase of the GFIP is to be rolled out given the low rate of collection of funds and how much Gauteng motorists are subsidising this project.

The DA does welcome the fact that the Provincial Government has taken our advice to spend more money on the maintenance of existing infrastructure in the province instead of blowing large sums on expensive new projects.

We hope that this administration will continue to take our advice and serve the best interest of the provinces people.

 

Media enquiries:

Adriana Randall MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Finance

060 556 4342

 

Ashor Sarupen MPL

DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Finance

060 558 8303

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