Remarks by Gauteng MEC for Finance Mr Mandla Nkomfe, on the occasion to celebrate the successful tabling of the 2011/12 Gauteng budget to the legislature, Thaba ya Batswana
3 Mar 2011
What a day we’ve had! And I am so glad that it is about to end. I must be honest that no level of knowledge would have prepared me for the grueling schedule that we had today.
After sleeping late night preparing for the presentation of the budget today, I reported to the Legislature just after 08h00 this morning. I had a cup of tea and met with journalists from all media houses. Our meeting was in a form of a pre-budget tabling session called the media lock-up session.
The journalists are given a time to read all budget documents prior to the tabling. Then they engage me as the MEC for Finance and other officials from the Gauteng Department of Finance on various issues coming from the budget. I must say we had a good session which lasted for nearly an hour. I thank members of the media for participating in this meeting.
Then at 10h00, we tabled the budget. During this time, we made it clear that we were presenting a balanced budget, which we were able to achieve as a result of the recession and our own austerity measures. There is no money left in the provincial kitty. Therefore it is vitally important that departments spend within their allocated budgets. Our message is clear; there will be serious consequences to accounting officers if departments do not spend within their means.
We spent the afternoon with more than 500 small business owners at the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto Campus. There, we had the opportunity to present to them various initiatives that are currently being implemented by the provincial government to develop the sector because it has a potential to grow our economy and create jobs.
I must say the discussion with small business owners were robust but honest. There are a lot of challenges that they have raised and as provincial government, we will respond to all of these with clear and concrete actions that will benefit this important sector of our economy.
Tomorrow morning we will be taking part at Wits Business School’s Distinguished Lecture Series discussion on infrastructure. I am confident that academics and captains of industry who will be joining us will be able to come up with ideas on how we can effectively spend the R36.1 billion that we have allocated to infrastructure investment in the next three years.
We will end the day sitting at the budget roundtable discussion that will be hosted by the University of Pretoria, where we will be discussion our finances with some of the leading academics.
Over the past 10 years, the Gauteng Provincial Government has tabled budgets that have progressively extended available resources towards meeting the goals we set for ourselves. The Budget Roundtable will be able to discuss what is it that we must do to improve the lives of our people using the budget in the years ahead.
For us, the various discussions that we’ve had and will continue to have until tomorrow afternoon are important. They are part of effort that we will be putting on consultations with various stakeholders going forward.
As the leadership, our view is that in order to succeed, we will have to work closely with many stakeholders in and outside of the government. During discussions with these stakeholders we always remain humble, understanding that our own perspectives on issues of governance and financial management need to be broadened by our partners to ensure effective implementation.
Source: Gauteng Department of Finance
Issued by: Gauteng Finance
3 Mar 2011
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