We cannot allow government departments to loot the fiscus of hundreds of millions – says ACDP

We cannot allow government departments to loot the fiscus of hundreds of millions – says ACDP

Consideration of Report of Portfolio Committee on Social Development on Impact of civil unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng on social development services and Department of Social Development’s response for urgent food relief to affected communities and Consideration of Report of Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on Joint oversight visit with Select Committee on Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture to KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng Provincial Education Departments

ACDP says we cannot allow government departments to loot the fiscus of hundreds of millions

  • questions R400m budget allocation for food relief

“Honourable Chairperson,

The Mercy of God is keeping our nation. We, today, have much to be thankful for. During the recent violent unrest and looting His hand pulled us back from the brink of the abyss. When we consider the damage to property and vital infrastructure that are essential for service delivery, in both Gauteng and Kwazulu-Natal (KZN), this may not seem as bad as what could have been.

However, when considering both reports before this house it is evident that we are continuing to edge closer to the abyss.

The estimated cost to repair infrastructure in schools and the offices of Social Development and SASSA exceed R100 million. However, during our oversight we saw little evidence for the hundreds of millions that the departments are seeking. These departments, especially at provincial level, cannot continue to be a sieve through which public funds flow without tangible results or accountability.

Social Development is seeking R400 million for the cost of food relief alone. Is this genuine food relief? Who are the beneficiaries? Chairperson, I am of the opinion that we will see this vital relief tied to buying votes in the upcoming local government elections. Those who are planning to use this food relief allocation to buy votes are also buying our people’s dignity and at the same time selling out our democracy. How can we condemn a mother looting a packet of maize meal and some clothes for her children, when on the other hand we allow government departments to loot the fiscus of hundreds of millions?

Unless this food relief is backed up by changes to policy that will get our people out of State dependency, and into independence, we are stealing our peoples’ dignity in another way. Chairperson, we do not need the government to create jobs, we need government to work with the business sector and civil society to create an enabling and stable environment that will spearhead job creation and give our people back their dignity.

The cost reported and presented by the KZN province of over R100 million, and the cause of damage does not correlate with what we saw on the ground. It is up to this House to be the vanguard to defend the dignity of our people by turning over every cent this government spends – several times before it is spent. Our weapons in this fight are oversight visits – the reports of these – and debates we have in this House. These reports underline the need for us to strengthen our oversight and demand clarity in reporting. This we must execute to the best of our ability.

The ACDP supports both reports.

I thank you.”

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