Budget addresses many areas that have been overlooked

2011-03-09 00:00

Municipal Rates

More than R243 million has been set aside in the provincial budget to pay rates owed to municipalities by KZN government departments. Head of provincial Treasury Simiso Leslie Magagula said the issue of the province owing money to municipalities has to disappear. He added, however, that the process has not been plain sailing as there have been challenges over the ownership of the land. “There’s been cases where the municipality charges the province for rates on a property and after verification, which can be an extensive process, we find that the land is actually owned by the municipality.”

 

unfunded mandates

Another long-standing issue set to be resolved by the Budget is that of unfunded mandates. For a long time eThekwini has complained that even though libraries and museums are a provincial responsibility, it has been funding these facilities in Durban. More than R33 million has been set aside in the Budget for what is termed, “the provincialisation of libraries and museums.”

 

Performance Bonuses

The prohibition on the payment of performance bonuses, introduced as a cost-cutting measure, falls away in the 2011/12 budget. Departments may again reward staff for exceptional performance.

 

Celebrating budget cuts

Departments usually abhor a decrease in their budget. Not the KZN Provincial Treasury, which has seen its budget allocation cut by more than a million over the past two years. This is because the reduction is largely due to a lower provision being made for the payment of interest on the provincial overdraft, as the province has been cash-positive since May 2010

The Treasury Department is also leading the way in implementing a measure where every employee has been asked to declare their financial interests, regardless of rank.

 

A Budget for Women

Finance MEC Ina Cronjé said that yesterday was International Women’s Day and the 100th year since March 8 was declared Women’s Day. “Not only am I tabling the provincial budget today, I am also here to give all women a huge global hug.” ­Cronjé said female-headed households have been the hardest hit by unemployment and many of the women have no safety net to fall back on. “Our budget should therefore be subjected to a further test, namely, is it a pathway to decent work for women through equal access to education, training, science and technology?”

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