IFP rates Culture MEC tops

2009-12-18 00:00

THE Inkatha Freedom Party in KwaZulu-Natal has issued its score-cards on the performances of the province’s MECs, and the highest scorer is MEC for Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation, Weziwe Thusi.

The IFP leader in the KZN legislature, Dr Bonginkosi Buthelezi, said Thusi got seven points out of 10, followed by Health MEC Dr Sbongiseni Dhlomo with 6,5 points.

Thusi’s department received a clean audit opinion and has been at the forefront of promoting heritage events, said Buthelezi.

The Health Department, he said, is responsible for the lion’s share of the R3 billion provincial overdraft. However, it has shown unwavering commitment to implement cost-cutting measures.

Buthelezi said the party looked at the KZN government’s performance on the basis of the Auditor-General’s report on financial prudence, implementation of cost-cutting measures in the light of the budget overdraft and the economic downturn when scoring the MECs.It also looked at public opinion based on service delivery issues.

KZN Premier Zweli Mkhize scored 4,5 points, he added.

The Royal Household department, which is under the Office of the Premier, is the only department to have received an adverse audit opinion and it has so far failed to implement cost-cutting measures effectively , despite the introduction of the Royal Trust Act, he said.

The Office of the Premier spent about R10 million on inaugurations, and failed to take disciplinary action against some 900 public ser­vants and their spouses who have benefited from state contracts without approval, said Buthelezi.

MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Willies Mchunu, he added, has managed to implement some of the cost-cutting measures in his departments and got four points.

Economic Development MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu’s department has received some positive feedback on audit opinion, said Buthelezi, but concerns have been raised about the failure of its public entities, namely Ithala Bank and the Provincial Growth Fund, to manage public funds and to ensure effective management of service delivery programmes. Mabuyakhulu got two points.

MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nomusa Dube got five points and Buthelezi said her department initially showed reluctance to implement the provincial government’s cost-cutting measures.

“[The Education Department has] huge backlogs in the building of classes and toilets … and the department is the second contributor to the provincial budget overdraft of R3 billion.”

Education MEC Senzo Mchunu received a score of 3,5.

Finance MEC Ina Cronje received four points and Buthelezi said her department had lied to the legislature that it seized control of the building of the new multi-million- rand legislature complex, whereas the legislature was responsible for this expensive project.

Social Development MEC Meshack Radebe scored 3,5 points. Buthelezi said that the department has failed to implement cost-cutting measures effectively by organising “jamborees” across the province and distributing food parcels in areas where there are by-elections.

Some of the projects by Agriculture, Environmental Affairs and Rural Development, such as Amanguni cattle breeding and growing mushrooms and Chinese rice, have not taken off, said Buthelezi. The MEC for this department, Lydia Johnson, scored 2,5.

Human Settlements and Public Works MEC Maggie Govender got four points, said Buthelezi, saying that although her department has managed public funds well, there are concerns about its failure to manage the provincial assets and service deli­very programmes for housing.

Buthelezi said “the overall performance of KZN government is five out of 10”.

Responding to the IFP’s evaluations , Mkhize said: “This is a democratic country and we encourage healthy debate. We are not surprised by the IFP scores. After all, they are an opposition.”

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