As we mark eight days before the presentation of the Medium Term Expenditure Budget Policy Statement by Minister Pravin Gordhan, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu and his executive council met the minister to reflect on KZN finances.
Mchunu pointed out: “In view of possible budget cuts on the KZN fiscus, we have informed the minister that it is our considered view that when budgeting, KZN should be treated differently because of its topography that features valleys and rivers making it difficult to speed up the delivery of bulk infrastructure such as water, sanitation and electricity including road construction.”
“KZN, home to more than R10 million people, is mainly rural with a higher level of poverty compared to other provinces. The provincial government has the responsibility to ensure that programmes of aimed at driving socio-economic development reaches all the people in all corners.”
“We have however, come to terms with the challenges that the global economic downturn has brought with it, including its manifestation in our economy. In addition, we acknowledge the fact that a sluggish economic growth trajectory slows down pace on agreed projects including where investors would have set aside funding.”
“The manner in which we manage matters of government will take into account this reality. We are not the only nation in the world that has to adjust to the harshness of the latest impact of our global economic challenges.”
“We will continue as government to strengthen service delivery and to cushion vulnerable members of society against any global negative conditions. We presented to the minister the 2016/17 budget performance and reflected on the budget pressures of R1.804 billion mainly against health and education.”
“We also drew to the attention of the minister budget pressures presented by the payment to Izinduna amounting to millions of rands excluding the salary backpay estimated to be over R1 billion. In addition, the provincial fiscus has to find R252, 328m in 2017/18, R266, 206m in 2018/19 and R280.847m in 2019/20 to remunerate Izinduna. We are heartened by the fact that the minister is aware of this important matter of Izinduna”
“Critically, the prolonged drought continues to put pressure on the fiscus with northern parts of KZN being the hardest hit. Water storages facilities on ILembe, UMzinyathi, King Cetshwayo, UMkhanyakude and Zululand municipalities continue to drop and water resources remaining below the level of demand. More than R245 million is required to ensure support the public and public institutions such as clinics and schools especially in rural areas.”
“As the province we are determined to dismantle cross-border crime which threatens the welfare of citizens. There are lucrative criminal enterprises operating car theft syndicates in the KZN/Mozambique border. Although fighting cross border crime is a national competency, we have resolved to put in place mitigation strategies such as constructing a barrier stretching more than 25km. We need a total of R128 million for this project.”
“Weighing heavily on our shoulders as the provincial executive council is the need to provide shelter to millions of needy families across the province. The housing programme for 2017/18 will collectively produce 23 514 units in 5 515sites with a budget of about R102.934 million. Due to limited budget some housing projects will only commence during 2018/19 financial year.”
“We have also informed the minister of the following:-
• R362 million funding is required by Richards Bay Industrial Development Zones during 2017/18 to enable the entity to purchase 1 216 hectors of land required to attract foreign direct investment. This will result in the creation of thousands of jobs for the people of King Cetshwayo municipality and surrounding areas.
• KZN needs R400 million annually to provide transport to learners. Currently, the province provides transport for 47 747 learners while R42 630 learners still need transport.
• The provision of water, sanitation and electricity remains a top priority and in this regard, KZN needs R35, billion, R14 billion and R11 billion respectively to achieve this.
• The provincial maintenance programme requires R16.281 to clear tarred/blacktop maintenance backlog, while the gravel road maintenance backlog would require R1.460 billion to clear.
“The interaction with the minister and his team has enabled us to present our solid case on behalf of the people of KwaZulu-Natal.”
Issued by the Office of the Premier
Ndabezinhle Sibiya: Spokesperson for the Premier
082 375 4742