EXCO LEKGOTLA MEDIA STATEMENT
16 February 2015
The Mpumalanga Provincial Government departments that are under spending will forfeit their remaining budgets and the money will be given to the municipalities to support water and sanitation projects. There will be a second budget adjustment to this effect before the end of the financial year.
The decision was announced at a three-day Mpumalanga Executive Council Lekgotla which started on Saturday, 14 February 2015 at Skukuza in the Kruger National Park, attended by the members of the executive, executive mayors, heads of departments, municipal managers, chairpersons of boards of the provincial state owned entities and chief executive officers of parastatals.
The decision follows a ten months provincial expenditure review report by the Provincial Treasury that indicated that many departments were under spending especially on compensation of employees. The Lekgotla was convinced that possibilities were high that departments might not necessarily spend the rest of their budgets in the last coming two months of the financial year.
The provincial government departments and municipalities were also warned that as from the 2015/16 financial year, the national budget was taking a downward trend and the Mpumalanga provincial government’s budget would shrink by at least R215 million.
At the same time departments have been instructed to implement cost curtailment measures. Some monies from the departments would be taken upfront in order for the cost curtailment exercise to work. The Provincial Treasury has since been tasked to finalise the revenue enhancement strategy in order for the provincial government to generate some income.
The Lekgotla expressed some satisfaction on the manner the Department of Education ran its affairs, however it was cautioned to ensure that skills development should respond to the economic needs of the province by focusing on areas of its competitive advantage.
Further the department should seek creative ways of ensuring that young people were gainfully employed and that they were able to create employment for themselves. The Lekgotla again expressed some concern that there were no returns on investment from the resources the government puts in the Early Childhood Development. The Departments of Education and Social Development must provide leadership on this matter and integrate resources.
The Department of Education should develop a practical plan to deal with the high dropout rate and its socio-economic challenges and to ensure that chools are free from drugs and substance abuse.
The Lekgotla further warned the Department of Community Safety, Security and Liaison against the escalating security costs as a cause for a serious concern.
The department would surrender for other reprioritisation the money that was allocated during the budget adjustment period for the contruction of a provincial traffic college if the money would not be used solely for this purpose.
The Department of Health was warned to deal with high litigations that were costing the department exhobirtant amounts of money due to negligence by its officials.
The department was further instructed to migrate and start using electronic filing system instead of the paper-based one in the hospitals, since the later contributed greatly to litigations due to dissapearance of information. The department was encouraged to urgently accelerate clearing of accruals as per its approved turn around strategy.
The Lekgotla further deliberated on a need to reconfigure the municipalities in the province since some of them were not financially sustainable, but survived on the grants to pay salaries. It is likely that some municipalities could be merged with the others after the 2016 local government elections.
Speaking at the Lekgotla, Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza said government service delivery was under pressure, therefore the leadership of the municipalites needed to understand that it would not be the business as usual.
The Premier said municipalities needed to increase their revenue collection too as the government fiscal distribution would be reduced.
“This would mean bigger challenges for all of us, we must try and make our economy to work. We must be able to generate our own revenue to close the gap. The compensation of employees will be reduced to the limit. Government cannot be an employment agent, but it should create a conducive environment for job creation.
“The leaders at the local government sphere must sensitise the people on the ground that government services cannot be free, they must be paid for. It is high time that we must spell out the truth, we cannot survive on lies. Some municipalities collapse because people do not pay for the services.
“We must deal with the water problem, no one should go without water. As a provincial government we wil embark on energy saving devices in order to scale down. All government and municipal buildings should do that because electricty is becoming a problem,” said Mabuza.
He added that municipalities would be encouraged to utilise sollar street lights especially on crime infested areas in order to save more energy.
Issued by Zibonele Mncwango
Spokesperson: Mpumalanga Premier
Mpumalanga Provincial Government
Office of the Premier
Tel: (013) 766 2453
Mobile: 079 491 0163
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