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Corruption not tackled

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“This is a significant amount of money lost due to, amongst other things, failure to comply with supply chain management and tender procedures.”

WHILE the Democratic Alliance in the Northern Cape has welcomed the financial savings initiatives by Premier Zamani Saul, the party has expressed concern that the biggest cost driver in the Province – corruption – has yet to be tackled.

Commenting on the State of the Province Address yesterday, DA leader Andrew Louw pointed out that Saul’s plan to roll nine government entities into one, to reduce costs on board and management payments, was “a good one”.

“We appreciate that he is going ahead with this despite it probably being met with antagonism by cadres who serve on these boards. Likewise, we appreciate the initiative to utilise the state house for the offices of the Department of Finance and in so doing, saving significant costs which are being channeled into the Premier’s Bursary Fund. We most definitely want to see more such thrifty initiatives in the near future.”

The party also welcomed the finalisation of the investment booklet and the economic opportunities that it may lure to the Province.

“We are concerned, however, that the Premier has not reported on consequence management taken during the year, despite his previous commitment to tackle corruption,” Louw added.

He pointed out that the total irregular expenditure incurred by the Province in 2019/2020 would have tallied R1,3 billion, if Health had not submitted late financial statements.

“This is a significant amount of money lost due to, amongst other things, failure to comply with supply chain management and tender procedures.”

Louw added that he was disappointed that the Premier did not elaborate on how many criminal charges were laid against corrupt officials and how much money was saved by getting rid of corrupt deals.

“I challenge him to give us a clear account next year of how he has tackled corruption and the benefits thereof. Until then, his corruption talk is cheap.”

The DA stated that it was further disappointed that the Premier “seemingly underplayed the devastating effects of the drought and its impact on the economy, by referring to growth in the agricultural sector”.

“How much greater could this growth have been if drought-stricken farmers received better support. Despite the drought declaration, he also failed to give a further commitment of assistance for drought relief in the form of the procurement of fodder. Given his views on expropriation without compensation, I am starting to think that this government is purposefully turning a blind eye to drought-affected farmers to somehow force them off the land.”

He added that he was also dismayed by the little attention given to the problems within the Department of Health and the Premier’s “superficial expectation that the National Health Insurance (NHI) will miraculously cure the health sector”.

“This is pie in the sky kind of thinking and, in this regard, we expected much more.”

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