#GPBudget: 2023/2024 budget is nothing more than hot air and election promises

The Gauteng 2023/24 budget displays a lack of service delivery and empty election promises.

This budget does not inspire any confidence. On the surface the budget hits all the right notes in terms of growing the economy and creating more jobs. This is nothing that we have not heard before.

Gauteng’s total budget is R158 945 081 000, and this year spending will focus on the following key priority areas:

  • Economic recovery and reconstruction;
  • Strengthening the battle against crime, vandalism, corruption and lawlessness;
  • Health and Wellness programmes;
  • Changing the living conditions in Townships, Informal Settlements and Hostels (TISH);
  • Strengthening the capacity of the state.

The provincial government has bold plans in place to attract investors but fails to explain how they will clamp down on corruption and wasteful expenditure. It is essential that proper plans are put in place to deal with officials who are intent on looting the public purse.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is worried that the proposed establishment of a Provincial State Bank and State Pharmacy will not be used to the benefit of our residents but only a few individuals who have connections within the department tasked to run these new entities. Is this really worth prioritising, in lieu of the serious challenges to residents’ livelihoods rising from a battered economy and constant blackouts?

The Department of Community Safety has received a huge increase in their budget from R1 374 065 000 to R2 706 192 000. This is to strengthen the province’s crime fighting strategy that was put forward in Premier Panyaza Lesufi’s State of the Province Address (SOPA) earlier this year.

Gauteng residents have been promised that e-Tolls are a thing of the past. However, MEC Mamabolo indicated that no budget has been allocated to the e-Toll debt for the 2023/2024 financial year and that the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with National Treasury is still not done.

The increase in the Education budget is welcomed, as the constant inward migration of residents to the province puts a huge strain on our schools. The maintenance and building of new schools is of utmost importance. We therefore urge the department of Infrastructure Development to support Education in fast tracking the building of new schools.

The department of Infrastructure Development also needs to urgently support other client departments especially Roads and Transport and Health where critical infrastructure projects are often delayed and absconded by contractors.

Health is unable to pay its service providers on time, and for that reason we welcome the establishment of an Invoicing Dispute Resolution Unit to deal with disputed and unpaid invoices.

This budget is clearly aligned to attract voters to support the governing party in the 2024 general elections, a sign of desperation as current polling puts the ANC below 50%. Gauteng residents do not deserve a budget that is full on empty promises.

 

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 Budget: No Plan For Kempton Park Hospital

Re-opening of Kempton Park Hospital

In tabling her 2016/17 budget, Gauteng MEC for Finance, Barbara Creecy, indicated that the Tembisa Hospital would be upgraded – but made no mention of the re-opening of the Kempton Park Hospital.

In July last year, MEC for Health, Qedani Mahlangu indicated that there were talks about either renovating the old Kempton Park Hospital, or building a completely new facility on the premises of the old site.

It appears that this idea has been completely scrapped.

Tembisa Hospital

The Tembisa Hospital, which services both Tembisa and Kempton Park, only has 800 beds and cannot cope with the number of patients who depend on government for medical help.

While the upgrade to the hospital is needed – it will still not be sufficient to adequately service the region.

The DA will continue to call for the re-opening of the Kempton Park Hospital to ensure that residents have access to adequate and quality healthcare.

 

Media enquiries:

Refiloe Ntsekhe MPL

Constituency Head: Tembisa

060 558 8297

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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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