Legislature committees overspend by a staggering R13million as KZN struggles to stay afloat

Issued by Dr Imran Keeka, MPL – Chief Whip to the DA in the KZN Legislature
23 Nov 2023 in Press Statements

Mid-term budget hearings have revealed that KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Legislature committees have racked up over-expenditure to the tune of R13million with the Women’s Caucus accumulating a 677% overspend on its baseline budget.

The finding comes as there is no guarantee that treasury will come to the province’s rescue and while urgent discussions are scheduled to discuss interventions to keep KZN afloat.

According to a report in the DA’s possession the biggest culprits are;

• KZN’s Human Settlements committee with a 447% baseline overspend

• The Public Works committee with a 375% overspend

• The Agriculture and Rural Development committee with a 269% overspend and;

• KZN’s Transport committee with a 250% overspend.

Embarrassingly, the Chairpersons Committee – which oversees all portfolio committees – has spent 345% over its baseline.

KZN’s education portfolio committee has also overspent its allocated budget, with expenditure currently at 130% from the baseline. This while the process for the Basic Education Law Amendment (BELA) Bill could not have reached the Legislature at a worse time with matric examinations ongoing and the Legislature rising next week.

This over-expenditure of committee budgets demand answers and committee chairs must be dragged over hot coals to extract explanations.

Under expenditure should equally be frowned upon given committee’s primary role of oversight. Shockingly, SCOPA is one of the culprits here, only spending a meagre 19% of its committee budget.

Despite its valuable role, KZN’s Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) committee also shows no bang for its buck – much like KZN’s ANC-run municipalities – only spending 31% of its committee budget. The question is: What does this committee do when ANC-run municipalities such as eThekwini and the provinces capital city, Msunduzi remain a mess.

The only indication of any committee doing any work in terms of provincial lawmaking is the Premier’s portfolio – with the one and only provincial bill during the current five-year parliamentary term. This while there are zero other committee-initiated bills aimed at improving the lives of our province’s people.

The question is: What has KZN’s Taliban ANC government been doing for the past few years – apart from big talk?

In order to operate optimally, KZN’s Legislature must have effective oversight. This requires functioning, properly managed, hardworking committees that stay within their budgets.

The people of KZN will have the opportunity to rescue our province at the polls and vote for a new government that will develop a capable, ethical and caring state with freedom, fairness, opportunity and diversity as its core values.

Constitutionalism and the rule of law must reign supreme, rather than the opposite. Only a DA Premier leading the KZN government will achieve this.