STOP-GO PROVINCIAL PAYMENTS MUST CEASE

Hundreds of teachers and now doctors are suffering the adverse consequence of non-payment by provincial departments. This callous approach causes immense stress on the individuals and their families as a result of the financial hardship that they are suffering. The Democratic Alliance is continually raising this matter in the various portfolio committees in the provincial legislature. We are determined to ensure that justice is done.

The double practice of non-payment to individuals and municipalities must cease.

I today also raised this in the portfolio committee on finance. The Office of the Premier, who is ultimately responsible for human resources management of this province, needs to intervene.

The Provincial Treasury needs to tighten its monitoring of payments to municipalities to stop departments stalling transfers in order to redirect funds to other projects.

I also raised the subject of payments by the Department of Health to the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality. At this stage at least R70 million is owed to the Metropole. Money is also owed to other municipalities. I was informed that payments have commenced but my information is that the Metro is yet to see the money.

The provincial health department’s juggling act when it comes to payment of municipalities for health services results in adverse consequences for service delivery at municipal level. This stop-go approach is extremely disruptive and forces municipalities in turn to juggle their restricted budgets to meet provincial commitments.

Just as motorists get totally frustrated with the stop-goes when road works are being conducted, so do residents in municipalities. The consequences of money being redirected from other budgets are cutbacks on services like cemetery cleaning, waste management and grass cutting. This leads to annoyance and anger by residents as they feel their municipality is not performing adequately.

The DA believes the following other solutions need to be applied:

1. All provincial contracts that are going to be renewed for personnel such as doctors and nurses need to be done in good time so authorisation can take place for payments without delays;

2. If agreements are entered into with municipalities, the health department must stick to those agreements and not redirect finances to other projects;

3. No personnel should be appointed unless they have been budgeted for;

4. Civil servants should be barred from doing business with the province in order to stop corruption which would result in big savings for the department;

A DA provincial government will ensure that effective service delivery will take place and that individuals receive their salaries.