Cronjé expected to deliver austerity budget today

2013-03-12 00:00

BELT-TIGHTENING, but with more money to fight corruption and create jobs are some of the priorities political parties expect from Finance MEC Ina Cronjé when she delivers her budget speech today.

Inkatha Freedom Party finance spokesperson Roman Liptak said his party expected further cost-cutting measures at the budget presentation in the KZN Legislature.

Domocratic Alliance spokesperson for finance Johann Krog said frontline services such as health, education and transport should be the focus of Cronjé’s budget if it were to be one for the people.

Krog said expenditure within the Royal Household Trust should be curtailed. “This cannot be a spend-as-you-like entity. If the current management cannot control expen-diture, then find people who can.”

Jo-Ann Downs, of the African Christian Democratic Party, said she expected strong austerity measures in Cronjé’s budget speech.

Congress of the People’s Lucky Gabela agreed. He said the budget should deal with the high rate of unemployment in rural municipalities, and provide more resources for food security to fight poverty.

ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said the ruling party expected the budget to respond to the state of the province address and identify issues that needed more resources.

Economist Kwanele Gumbi said that in a year characterised by poor revenue collection and depleted coffers, experts and ordinary taxpayers expected Cronjé to announce a very tight budget.

He said it was vital for the province to hold senior government officials accountable.

“Resources are under strain. [Finance] Minister Pravin Gordhan in the national budget was looking for money from every area.

“We expect individuals, not just departments, but individuals like a DDG [deputy director-general] to account for their performance.”

Gumbi said priority sectors should include maritime and trade.

“It is important that we take our money and apply it to our strengths.”

Melanie Veness, CEO of the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business, said that although education and health would dominate the budget allocations, investment promotion, infrastructure and good governance were also expected to feature.

“We’re very interested to hear what kind of funding will be allocated to support the IDZs [industrial development zones] referred to by the Premier and [Economic Development and Tourism] MEC Mabuyakhulu.

“We’ll also be looking with interest to see whether funding has been allocated to further upgrade Pietermaritzburg Airport,” Veness said.

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