by Alan Fuchs MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Infrastructure Development
Despite the platitudes dished out by Gauteng MEC for Finance, Barbara Creecy, in her budget speech that infrastructure is one of the “10 critical actions to promote growth and development”, she then doubles back and cuts the infrastructure budgets in the most important service delivery areas of health, education, human settlements, social development, sports, arts & culture and infrastructure development.
This comes about because of years of poor policies, poor implementation, inefficiency and corruption.
The infrastructure budget for the Health Department has been cut by R273 million, Education by R429 million, Human Settlements by R438 million, Social Development by R71 million, Sports, Arts and Culture by R113 million and Infrastructure Development by R90 million.
Overall, the infrastructure budget for the 2018 year is almost R900 million less than the appropriation for the 2017 year.
In addition, because of the extremely poor financial position of the Health Department, a moratorium has been put on any new infrastructure projects in the 2018/19 financial year. As it is, the quality of healthcare in Gauteng is poor and insufficient budget for infrastructure is likely to exacerbate the situation and may increase the possibility of more Esidimeni tragedies taking place.
As a result of the cash crunch due to populist decisions of the ANC, the Minister of Finance announced in the budget debate in Parliament that the allocation of funds by national government to provinces would be reduced.
The MEC for Finance tries to minimize this risk by suggesting that service delivery will be shielded by utilizing internal funds to compensate for the shortfall from national government. The fact is that funds that could have been used to increase levels of service delivery will be sucked up to mitigate the ramifications of poor political decisions.
MEC Creecy suggests that the ANC’s so called New Dawn “puts the primacy of human well-being above all else.” It’s just a pity that this new-found attachment to human well-being comes too late for the victims and families of the Esidimeni debacle.