Speech notes by Nosimo Balindlela (MPL), on the 2017/2018 Annual and Six Monthly Financial report on the Office of the Premier – 28 November 2017

Honourable Premier of the Eastern Cape, Honourable Speaker, Honourable MECs, Honourable Members of the Legislature, Ladies and gentlemen.  Good morning.

I would like to start off my speech by saying that today is my 67th birthday and if anyone could ask me for any wish, it would be for all of us in our communities to read books to our young children.  Therefore I wish to dedicate this day to a reading club, Ukufunda Bubomi, in Kwamlungisi, a township in Stutterheim.  I would also like to thank Nali Bali for the weekly reading supplements.  Reading is life.

Hon. Speaker, the Office of the Premier has underspent in all three of their programmes.  Administration underspent its budget by R3, 312 million due to delays in filling the replacement of vacant posts. Planning, Policy Coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation underspent by R R14, 164 million, this is due to delays in the filling of posts and the delays in the signing of the service level agreements for youth-related projects.  Institutional Development & Organizational Support underspent by R3, 840 million due to delays in the replacement of vacant posts not being filled.

The Democratic Alliance does acknowledge that the lives of our people have gradually improved over the last 20 years, in that more people have access to more schools, hospitals, clinics and transportation, but so much more is needed in the Eastern Cape.

With the Office of the Premier being about inculcating good governance and effective public service delivery, the Office of the Premier must continue to strengthen their operations in all its areas and should place emphasis on the challenges of inequality, poverty and unemployment in this province.

The Department incurred wasteful and fruitless expenditure amounting to R2, 02 million due to ICT assets which were procured in 2014 in which value for money could not be derived from it, which is a concern to us as the Democratic Alliance.

Hon Speaker, PMDS still remains a challenge in the Office of the Premier as 4% of the employees did not sign performance agreements and 54% of employees did not conduct quarterly reviews timeously.  The PMDS policy is unfortunately not properly implemented within the Office of the Premier and across all provincial departments.  This must be investigated and properly monitored, and as stated in the report the department must provide the committee with a strategy as to how they will ensure compliance with PMDS in future.

Hon. Speaker, the Office of the Premier should at all times be the centre of planning and coordination of the provincial government.
The Office of the Premier is the centre of governance and leadership in the province, and should conduct its operations in a manner that reflects this.

The department must commit itself to conducting an oversight role of provincial administration, particularly in the health and education sectors.  Another area of concern is the provincial irregular expenditure which amounted to approximately R 1.4 billion.

The department incurred irregular expenditure of R 3. 9 million due to non-compliance with the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act.  It was further outlined that effective steps were not taken to prevent irregular as well as fruitless and wasteful expenditure incurred by the department as required by Treasury regulations.

This is clearly evident of the current shortfalls that exist within the Premier’s Office.  Effective governance and adherence to policy frameworks should form the cornerstone of any well-functioning provincial government.

The Office of the Premier must ensure that the irregular expenditure is investigated and that due process is followed for the recovery of the irregular expenditure. The Office of the Premier must further provide the committee with a detailed plan on how the incurrence of irregular expenditure will be prevented in future.

The DA supports the adoption of the report.

Thank you.