By Justus de Goede MPL, DA Gauteng Office of the Premier Committee Member
Note to Editors: The following speech was delivered in the Gauteng Legislature during the debate on the 2018/19 Office of the Premier’s budget.
A few months ago, Honourable Premier Makhura made a point of voicing his dissatisfaction with the way in which civil servants were appointed in this Province.
At the same time, and on several other occasions mooted lifestyle audits for public servants.
He also admitted that the way in which e-tolls were implemented was wrong, without offering a solution for the current stand-off between SANRAL and the people of Gauteng.
It has also emerged that some 300 forensic investigations, some dating back almost a decade, were quietly gathering dust, 60% of which had never been acted on.
More recently, the Honourable Premier launched an investigation into the Gauteng Department of Social Development’s use of the “conduit” payment method, through which non-profit organisations registered with the Department received grant payments, not directly from the Provincial Treasury, but via other NPOs.
This report was completed and given to the Premier some time ago, but he has declined to reveal its contents, fuelling speculation that a well-developed scam was being run somewhere inside the Social Development department.
120 of these transactions, totalling over R 100 million, were made in just two financial years.
The Life Esidimeni tragedy and the case of Member Hlongwa will be dealt with by my colleagues.
Speaker, I will not ascribe sinister motives to this lack of action from the Premier’s office, but rather a well-known characteristic of his Party, the ANC, to talk a good game.
Honourable Premier, how many lifestyle audits have been completed and where can we find the results?
Another recent undertaking by Honourable Makhura is a very laudable campaign to stamp out corruption in the Provincial administration: for this purpose, the “Integrity promotion and anti-corruption Advisory Committee” was called into life.
According to the budget presentation by the Office of the Premier, last year the committee received over 2 000 cases referred to it by the National Anti-Corruption Hotline and successfully handled 80% of these cases.
Where can we get details of this decisive and successful action which surely should have been given extensive publicity?
On the budget of the Office of the Premier itself, the clean audit is welcomed, but expenditure on compensation of officials is, as has been pointed out in previous years, very high, over 50% of the allocated budget and rises close to 60% by 2019/20.
The current financial year also proposes R43 million for consultants and another R20 million for “venues and advisory services”, which should be looked at critically.
The salary structure is also top heavy, with more than twice as many high-earning officials than officials in the lower grades.
The budget also refers to progress made in key areas like health and public transport and, of course, to the nebulous concept of “deliverology”.
Progress made in health and public transport is certainly not reflected in the flood of questions and statements in this house about the state of the Gauteng Department of Health.
There is a deafening silence, year after year, from the Department of Roads and Transport on supposed improvements to moribund modes of public transport.
As for deliverology, it seems that many senior officials have been tasked with delivering the deliverology, but I have yet to see a definitive report on progress made with this proposal.
As I have said before, poor leadership makes for poor followers; as the Province’s first citizen, the Honourable Premier must be aware of the huge gap between expectation and delivery in Gauteng.
All cabinet members report to him and being soft on non-performers is a disservice both to himself and to the people he answers to.