Job programme lacking

2011-03-09 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL’S two main opposition parties and the labour federation, Cosatu, criticised Finance MEC Ina Cronjé’s budget speech for they saw as its lack of a detailed programme for job creation, despite the national government having declared 2011 as the year of job creation.

The Inkatha Freedom Party and the Democratic Alliance said the budget does little to explain how the provincial government will create 1,1 million jobs towards the national target of five million job opportunities.

Cosatu provincial secretary Zet Luzipo said the budget gives “no sign of a commitment to the current challenges faced by our people”.

“The first problem is the lack of consultation in the process of budget formulation.

“We are absolutely opposed to any form of financial elitism and this is just one case in testimony. We are not impressed with this budget. We will continue to demand a people’s budget not an MEC/government or bureaucracy’s budget …”

The ruling ANC in the province welcomed the budget and commended its focus on creating decent work and economic growth, ensuring rural development (including agrarian reform and food security), fighting crime, the increased spending on education health, nation building and good governance.

IFP spokesperson on finance Roman Liptak said the budget speech relied on “platitudes and vague interventionist policies that failed to create jobs in the past”.

“The IFP predicts that the only employment targets that are likely to be met are the filling of all funded public service posts and the temporary and unsustainable jobs generated by the Expanded Public Works Programme.

“Pouring more and more public funding into schemes that create mock jobs that are short-lived and where little or no transfer of marketable skills takes place is no answer to KZN’s shrinking labour market, whose only hope is a free, vibrant and growing private sector,” Liptak said.

The IFP also voiced its shock at the neglect in the latest budget “to instill genuine competition into the provision of public infrastructure, which is one of the reasons why KZN is still saddled with an insurmountable backlog of classrooms, houses and clinics”.

In its “alternative budget framework”, among other things the IFP proposes to redistribute funds to key service delivery areas, restructure the province’s economic development programmes to incentivise job creation and entrepreneurship through wage subsidies, and promote community ownership of public infrastructure through selected co-funding schemes.

The DA’s finance spokesperson, Johann Krog, said Cronje’s speech does not indicate how the provincial government will assist with job creation within the private sector, but only concentrates on creating government jobs.

Krog said provincial government costs are set to rocket with the MEC’s announcement that and additional 800 agriculture extension officers, 500 Dube Trade port jobs and 3 000 assistant nurses are to be employed.

“In addition, 4 600 youths are to be trained for civil servant posts, which will increase the existing R44 billion compensation cost, leaving less for infrastructure development.

“The infrastructure budget increase from R11 billion to R11,7 billion comes from a low base and is insufficient for the maintenance of the province’s public assets such as schools, roads, hospitals and clinics, most of which are in a dilapidated state.”

The ANC’s provincial secretary, Sihle Zikalala, said the budget “is a pro-poor financial plan aimed at empowering the marginalised …”

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