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Gauteng budget: Without political accountability, the budget is pointless

The FF Plus believes that implementing a budget is pointless if there is no political accountability.

Thus, the FF Plus doubtfully took note of the ANC government's budget for Gauteng which the MEC for Finance, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, tabled in the Legislature yesterday.

The ANC government's budget is worthless if those who are responsible for the extensive maladministration, fraud and corruption are not brought to book.

This, of course, also applies to the political leadership of the departments where most of the fraud took place, like the Department of Education under the leadership of Panyaza Lesufi.

In fact, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) named Lesufi's Department the biggest culprit in the country as regards Covid-19-related corruption.

Lesufi would surely have been stripped of his office in any legitimate democracy. It is, however, clear that for the ANC the party comes first, before the province and its people, who are suffering more and more.

The allocation of an astronomical amount of R59,7 billion to the Department of Education, while it is shrouded in criminality and mismanagement, is very problematic.

The Department of Education has been allocated the largest portion of the entire budget, even more than the Department of Health (R59,4 billion), which comes as a surprise against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, of which the fifth wave is expected soon.

In addition to the lack of leadership in the Department of Education, there is also a lack of good quality education in the province. The Education Department appears to be obsessed with generating cosmetically high pass rates at the expense of qualitative outcomes.

The private sector and institutions of higher education are becoming increasingly concerned about the lack of knowledge and insight that matriculants possess when they leave school.

The ANC has forsaken the province's youth for an ideologically driven high pass rate, which puts the ANC in a positive light.

Although R12,3 billion of the budget has been allocated to infrastructure, it is no secret that the Department of Infrastructure is dysfunctional.

Without decisive intervention and the appointment of competent individuals in key positions, the funds will probably be misappropriated or much of it will not be used at all, like in the past.

Gauteng is in need of upgrades and maintenance to its infrastructure, especially road and school infrastructure, but whether this need will be met remains doubtful.

If the budget is used effectively, it could be used to create short-term job opportunities.

The most important issue, namely attracting large-scale external investments to Gauteng, was essentially overlooked.

Instead, the ANC continues to drive its ideology that the government must act as developmental agent interfering in the economy in an attempt to create jobs.

In reality, though, Gauteng must instil confidence in potential investors so that they will invest private funds in the province. This is not happening.

On the contrary, by interfering in the economy the ANC government is doing more harm than good and deterring potential investors.

Thus, the people of Gauteng must not expect the new budget to improve the lives of most.

It is just a rehash of the same old ideas where merit and accountability have no role to play.

The only solution is to oust the ANC in 2024 and replace it with a coalition of opposition parties, like the ones currently governing in the Gauteng metros.

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