Budget speech by the Honourable Nono Dumile Maloyi in the North West Provincial Legislature
8 Jul 2009
Honourable Madam Deputy Speaker
The Honourable Premier
The Legislature Executive Management
Ladies and gentlemen
On a special occasion such as this, I am reminded of the sentiments of a civil rights lawyer Booker T Washington when he said “We are to be tested in our patience, in our forbearance, our power to endure wrong, to withstand temptation, to acquire and use our skills, our ability to compete, to succeed in commerce, to disregard the superficial for the real, the appearance for substance, to be great and yet a servant for all. Those who fought and died in the battlefield performed their duty heroically and well, but the duty remains for you and me.”
I therefore feel greatly honoured to discharge the duty that remains for you and me by presenting the budget vote of the legislature for the year 2009 to 2010. This budget is presented in the context of our nation and a world experiencing huge financial strain.
At the same time, despite inherent negative social and economic implications of the economic downturn, it is a context that implores all of us to assemble our creative skills, innovative ways and collective resolve in discharging the duty that remains for you and me to exercise greater responsibility in spending public money and other resources during the current financial year.
Madam Deputy Speaker
Allow me to state from the onset that this budget should be viewed as a transitional budget because it moves the current generation of Honourable Members from the third democratic process into the fourth democratic system of governance. And naturally, this fourth term like other past terms carries pertinent questions that deserve to be honestly answered by those our people from the width and breadth of our country elected into public office on the 22 April 2009. The questions that come to mind are the following:
* What would be our role as honourable members to ensure that our province achieves its strategic goals as outlined by the Premier in the state of the province address recently?
* What would be the impact of our work within our constitutional mandate of oversight, public participation and law-making in contributing to nation building in our province and nationally?
* What would be our creative and innovative measures to canvass public opinion on both the provincial and national legislative processes under the auspices of the National Council of Provinces from a limited budget? And above all
* What would be our role in response to the President of the Republic call for an “Activist Parliament” (in our instance Activist Legislature) during the State of the Nation Address in this year?
All the answers and some of the questions that I could not pose to this August House should be answered within the spirit of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa which boldly promises all our people a better life irrespective of colour, creed or race.
In addition, the answers should find explicit expression in our strategic plan which by its intent and purpose should be inclusive and participatory. We need to afford members the necessary platform to make meaningful inputs.
We have also observed with a huge sense of interest that since the inauguration of the Honourable Premier and Honourable Members of the Executive Council, there has been an exodus of our personnel to join the Premier’s office and other Executive Council members including municipalities.
I am happy that the Executive Management is responding appropriately to this trend by filling those vacancies either internally or by following our recruitment policy and procedures to recruit externally. In certain instances, head-hunting will be exceedingly necessary.
I remain confident that the Legislature will respond accordingly as it appears this trend to recruit from us by the Executive Council will gain momentum. As responsible leaders we cannot wish them ill those leaving the legislature but to say loudly they should perform to the best of their ability and indeed, they should ensure that our Executive Council does not betray the wishes of our people. We wish them luck in their new employment.
As the legislature, we have already constituted various portfolio committees in-line with our provincial departments and this has enabled us to reframe the nature of the relationship between the legislature and the Executive Council as both are custodian of oversight and service delivery respectively.
In the context of our new vision for committees, the streamlining of professional support service with limited resources requires urgent attention.
In other words, the Executive Management is required to be creative and innovative to find resource to allocate to the three clusters, a lawyer, budget analyst and a researcher and other resources to ensure that our committees function proficiently.
It should also be announced here today that following on the resolutions of the Rules Committee on the 21 May 2009 an increase was affected in respect to quota tickets, cellphone allocation, daily allowance for accommodation and other related matters as stipulated in our members’ interest manual.
This increase is not going to have a negative bearing in the current limited budget, but I have been assured by the Executive Management that this increase will be extracted from our savings.
Also we should be mindful that no increases were affected on matters of members’ interest for a considerable period disregarding the economic notion of time value for money. In simple terms, R100 in the year 2000 does not carry the same value in 2009. Honourable Members will receive correspondence which details every aspect on this matter within days.
In responding to an undesirable administrative hiccup in our National Council of Provinces (NCOP) office which has contributed hugely in uncoordinated activities between ourselves and the NCOP, a deputy manager has already been appointed to ensure that this legislature is better positioned to influence legislation wherever possible through our permanent delegates.
We are further hopeful that mandates and other important matters will be processed on time to enable us to always be ready for the demands of the NCOP.
I must also indicate that in the previous year, the legislature through an inclusive process involving all the stakeholders was able to implement the Performance and Management Development System (PMDS).
It is noteworthy that this system is not to punish individual employees, but its primary objective is to equip Executive Management to quickly identify gaps in respect to employees’ performance and to respond appropriately when problems are identified by offering additional training or improved focused supervision.
Our premises or building which is about to be declared a national key point by the security agencies of our country is currently being fitted with a security system of high standard to be completed within two months period. Some devices of this security system include CCTV, access control, fire detection, asset tracking, automatic number plate recognition and additional card reader to be installed at our Parliamentary Village for usage at the main-gate by residential Honourable Members.
It is without a shadow of doubt that not only our building will be protected but more specifically Honourable Members including visitors to the legislature and our employees will enjoy the high security measures befitting the legislature’s status. The problem of missing items such as computers and other valuables including entering offices without permission will be history.
It is also with satisfaction to report that currently the Legislature does not have any case pending against it at the Commission for Mediation and Arbitration or the Labour Court.
Madam Deputy Speaker
Having elaborated on these matters of strategic importance to the legislature to realise its immediate and long term goals, allow me to reflect on the budget allocation for the 2009 to 2010 financial year. Our legislature has been allocated a total budget of R133,282 million for 2009/10 financial year.
This amount is divided into three programs namely; administration, members’ salaries which is a statutory allocation and lastly legislature operations.
The allocations to the various three programs are the following:
* Programme 1: administration
An amount of R78,413 million has been provided for this program which includes logistics, human resource, building extension and lastly internal audit.
* Programme 2: members’ salary
An amount of R24,235 million has been provided for the payment of members’ salaries and it is a statutory allocation disbursed in terms of the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers Act 20 of 1998.
* Programme 3: parliamentary operations
An amount of R30,634 million has been provided for this program which includes the Office of the Speaker and members’ support in the form of secretarial, constituency and hosting allowances and committees work.
At a face value this budget appears to equal what the Legislature will like to achieve as encapsulated in our strategic plan for 2009/10, but a closer examination of the allocation reveals the contrary.
In sympathy with the Treasury to ensure that the provincial societal needs are not compromised such as health, education, rural development and the creation of decent jobs, we intend to cut substantially on specific matters such international trips, hotel accommodation, office telephone usage and any other issues that are viewed to be outside our core mandate of oversight, public participation and law-making.
However, we wait with a sense of hope that the ongoing interaction between the Legislature’s Executive Management and Treasury will result in the legislature being offered what it has already submitted when the Honourable MEC for Finance tables the adjustment budget.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen
Before I hazard issues for budget allocation which we submitted to Treasury this year, it will be an act of dishonesty if I make no mention of selling of flats and houses in 2008 which were a property of the North West Housing Cooperation.
It is a known fact that this matter which captured not only the public eye in our province but the entire country caused unimaginable pains to the occupants of those houses and flats.
I sincerely feel sadden to say residents of those flats lost clothes, furniture and many treasures during evections.
As a matter that we inherited from the previous third legislature, I have written to the Premier requesting that this matter be brought to finality urgently. Immediately the legislature receives the response from the Premier, we will not hesitate to make it public and invite all the affected parties in an attempt to resolve whatever problems we could have identified.
The duty that remains for you and me is to appeal to all those that were involved in this matter to come forward with their hands faced-up to assist in the process of reaching an amicable resolution.
Our submissions to Treasury for this 2009/10 financial year included the following policy imperatives of the legislature:
* Refurbishment of the chamber (the carpet in the chamber is almost thirty years old and the Speakers’ chair is sandwiched by two small chairs which must be demolished because that setup represents a undemocratic era of a military or police state)
* The gym to be build at Lowe (the building designs are ready and public works was involved from an early stage)
* Additional offices or building (party political staff and the Legislature has increased and office space is not sufficient for individual members’ political demands)
* Upgrading of security measures at Lowe (no security at all for Honourable Members at our Parliamentary Village)
* Funding for people assembly (funding is inadequate because the Legislature does not anymore solicit financial assistance from municipalities for this annual event)
* Opening of the fourth legislature (lack of sufficient budget forced the Executive Management to transfer funds from other programs for the success of the fourth legislature)
* Auditor-General fees (audit fees have increased which we cannot avoid because the Legislature should also be audited like other departments and state institutions)
* Legal contractual fees (fees owned to INCA which bankrolled our previous service provider for the previous security installation by RENCORP)
* Legislative review (capacitate the legal unit with appropriate legal skills that the legal unit is able to conduct legislative review in-house).
With regard to capacity for committees to function professionally and individual Honourable Members to be efficient and effective, we will continue to convince the European Union which has a standing agreement with National Parliament to fund some of our capacity programmes. Fortunately, this matter is decided at the speakers forum of the legislative sector in South Africa.
For us to be ready for this mammoth task, the secretary to the legislature has been directed to interact with the University of the North West and Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy (PALAMA) (previously called SAMDI) to investigate special programmes and modules for honourable members.
This will be done by extrapolating excellent aspects from other modules such as the Stellenbosch University which is currently offered to the honourable members of the National Parliament including the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University for honourable members of the Eastern Cape legislature.
Why we want to approach these credible universities is to ensure that our modules and programmes are accredited by government institution.
You will now realise that all the issues I have raised attest to my earlier comments that this current budget will definitely annihilate our collective energy to achieve what is expected from us by the electorate and our new thinking of increasing the tempo on oversight to spend more time on oversight work and holding the executive to account.
Madam Deputy Speaker and Honourable Members
On behalf of all of us I would like to take this opportunity to pay homage to the former Speakers, Deputy Speakers and all other former honourable members from the first, second and third Legislature by echoing the words of Professor Sangweni in his poem ‘our journey’ recited at his farewell function few days ago when he said, “I cast my eyes from where we have come, I stand amazed at what we have done. So little did we know the bright legacy that we will grow.”
Secretary to the Legislature Dr Baba Schalk and your Executive Management, there are administrative areas that require some urgent attention like:
* To improve our public profile
* To ensure that Kgotla is quarterly produced
* To ensure that our website is periodically updated
* To develop career path and retention strategy through an inclusive process of the stakeholders
* To capacitate the legal unit
* To ensure the NCOP office is fully functional
* To ensure we have a required number of members in our external audit
* To try again to receive for the fourth time an unqualified audit report.
You have to ensure without fear of favour that all employees of this institution do not go on recess simultaneous with honourable members. Let it be clear, a recess period is a preserve for elected public representatives to do political work in various constituencies. Also, the decisions of the Legislature must be implemented by the staff to the latter irrespective of their political affiliation. We are all required and expected to respect, promote, and uphold the dignity and reputation of the legislature.
In the same breath, I would like to profoundly appreciate your continued professional assistance you render not only to my office but to all honourable members. We are bound to travel this journey together because it is not my journey, or your journey but the journey of all.
Madam Deputy Speaker
In conclusion, many thanks to the Chairperson of the portfolio committee Honourable Pelele, committee members and all honourable members for continuing executing their respective responsibilities with dedication and commitment to the Legislature’s programme. I remain confident that honourable members will engage actively with the challenges and opportunities presented to us by this limited budget allocation.
The duty remains for you and me into practical outcomes and rising to the challenge of building a truly democratic society. To do this, it is our unquestionable responsibility and mandate to engage in robust debates with dignity and respect to each other.
I thank you!
Issued by: North West Provincial Government
8 Jul 2009
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