Gauteng Budget Does Not Finance Premier’s Promises

March 3, 2015

Gauteng Finance MEC Barbara Creecy’s budget speech today was an attempt to steer the provincial budget ship in a new direction to reprioritise expenditure to new programmes as government tries to placate unhappy ANC voters.

 

However, many years of poor ANC policy and direction means that there is no more fiscal space to meet Premier David Makhura’s new promises.

 

MEC Creecy has made no attempt to announce efficiencies on salaries, and the DA believes that the wage bill may erode the ability of the government to fulfil its programmes should there be a public sector wage strike.

 

Furthermore, the MEC has tried to create value for money by mentioning certain reductions, no announcement was made on the use of consultants. This in effect means that government pays people to do the job that those it is already paying are supposed to do – putting more pressure on the fiscus.

 

While the DA welcomes certain reductions in administration fees and expenditure on venues and facilities, we note with increasing concern that travel and subsistence allowances have been reduced by only 1,5%, despite Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene’s call for a 7% reduction.

 

Of further concern is government’s advertising budget only being reduced by a paltry 0,5%. Will Gauteng residents see yet another flurry of billboards in the ANC’s black green and yellow proclaiming government successes as we head for the 2016 local government elections? Only time will tell.

 

So too is the announcement of an additional R45 million allocated to the Legislature’s public participation budget. What more convenient manner to bring senior provincial ANC politicians to the people without dipping into the ANC’s election budget.

 

The more one digs into the budget, the more evident it becomes that the ANC is in full campaign mode.

 

Development corridors should focus on economic development, industrialisation and the creation of jobs, not only on the delivery of houses. Housing development must be accompanied by economic opportunity, which this budget does not do.

 

Development corridors were announced as a way to bring economic transformation, today all we heard was houses without jobs. This while the total infrastructure spend is R13 billion including conditional grants‎, but a lot is refurbishment and social expenditure rather than economic infrastructure.

 

Scant attention is paid to township development, with very little plans or details on bringing business to townships. MEC Creecy only made available R140 million for this purpose, down 20 million from the R160 million promised in October last year, and nowhere near the R300 million promised by Premier Makhura last Monday.

 

While the 2015/16 Gauteng budget may have the hallmarks of an execution plan for the agenda of achieving transformation, modernisation and reindustrialisation, it in fact remains business as usual while the ANC tries to placate disgruntled voters.

 

Media enquiries:

Adriana Randall MPL

060 556 4342

DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Finance

 

Ashor Sarupen MPL

060 558 8303

DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Finance

 

 

 

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