DA will never support a budget that does not put people first

Issued by Retief Odendaal, MPL
Shadow MEC for Finance

The Democratic Alliance today rejected the provincial budget tabled in the Provincial Legislature, as it fails to put the needs of the people of this province first.

Sadly, this has not stopped the ANC from pushing the budget through, issuing themselves and their cadres a free ticket for another year onboard the gravy train at the expense of the people they claim to serve.

Rather than prioritise funding to deal with the stubbornly high unemployment crisis, a failed Health Department or the collapsing local municipalities, the ANC-led government has once again allowed runaway salary costs to consume the bulk of its spending for the new financial year.

The budget presented to the House has allocated 65.5 cents out of every rand to pay salaries. Was the cost of employment kept within the 60% range, as set by Treasury, it would free up R4,6 billion rand in funding – more than the province’s entire capital spend items.

It’s not our frontline health officials or teachers that are bleeding the province dry. It’s the 2000 millionaire managers that collectively earn more than R2 billion per annum!

In just three years, between 2018/19 and 2020/21, the Chief Executive Officer of the Coega Development Corporation has earned a salary of R20,149 million, yet the promises to rationalise bloated provincial State-Owned Entities have failed to materialise.

How can anyone, in good conscience, support a budget that will force thousands more children to either have to walk extreme distances to get to school or simply go without an education?

How can anyone ignore the plight of the Department of Health? Sadly the budget has provided no answers. We need to fix it once and for all, and that starts by putting this Department under administration.

We must ask ourselves how does the budget provide support to failing Eastern Cape municipalities so that we can better serve our communities. The answer, sadly, is that in its current form, it doesn’t!

The ANC-led Government needs to stop looking after themselves and their officials and start putting the people of this province first!