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Gauteng budget: Lots of money for needless drones and panic buttons, but no plans for paying off e-toll debt

 

The Gauteng ANC government paid a lot of attention to financing all kinds of gadgets, like drones and panic buttons, to supposedly combat crime, but said nothing about the funds needed to settle its 30% of the e-toll debt.

And no mention was made of the funds needed to maintain the roads that the province will take over from SANRAL either.

It sets alarm bells ringing regarding the scrapping of the e-toll system and the maintenance of highways in Gauteng.

These concerns are exacerbated by the fact that the budget of the Department of Roads, Transport and Logistics was cut back by R137 million.

The Premier, Panyaza Lesufi, has a big mouth, but is taking very small steps.

His focus on safety makes sense, but his approach is based on senseless plans that divert attention away from the actual root of the crime problem.

In the FF Plus's response to the Premier's SOPA, the party made it clear that his idea to combat crime with drones is a fantasy. The reasons include a dysfunctional criminal justice system, a weak police force and corruption.

If these are not addressed, any plan that needs to function in reliance on these systems is doomed to fail.

According to the budget, an upward adjustment of R199,7 million will go to Community Safety, R26,9 million of which is earmarked for uniforms and fleet services.

The rest of the budgeted amount will go to crime prevention: R24 million for appointing 6 000 peacekeepers and a further R60 million for their training.

R42 million will be spent on vehicles and R27,5 million on developing an e-panic button app.

A further R8,3 million will be used to rent drones and to train drone pilots, and R10 million for renting helicopters.

It all sounds very exciting, but the budget is not aimed at addressing the shortcomings in the police force and the criminal justice system.

Arresting thousands of suspected criminals will mean nothing if the police fail to build strong cases against them and the prosecuting authority cannot convict them.

All these attempts and money will amount to no more than icing on a rotten cake.

A positive aspect of the budget was the announcement by the MEC for Finance, Jacob Mamabola, of the upward adjustment of R253 million for Education to complete projects and build additional classrooms.

It is, however, far too little to build new schools, which is something that Gauteng urgently needs.

In essence, the budget is aimed at spending as much as it takes to save the ANC from a total implosion in the 2024 elections.

And in the meantime, Gauteng residents will have to get used to the senseless buzzing of drones above their heads while the e-toll system continues to invoice road users as always.

The time to overthrow the ANC in Gauteng is fast approaching.

The FF Plus will continue to fulfil its role as effective opposition and after the 2024 elections, it will play a pivotal role in establishing a coalition government that will relegate the ANC to the opposition seats.

Until then, the FF Plus wants to encourage the people of Gauteng to hold on. Light will break through the darkness soon.

 

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