Gauteng Finance and e-Government MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko is focusing on jobs and the economy in the last two-and-a-half years of this political term of government amid significant challenges faced over the past few years.
Presenting the Gauteng Provincial Treasury’s Budget Vote in “complex and difficult times”, she said that the provincial economy, which contributes more than 35% to South Africa’s gross domestic product, is still about 1% smaller than what it was in 2019.
“Our unemployment rate, particularly amongst the youth, is unacceptably high; poverty and inequality have deepened in our society,” she said of the socioeconomic challenges that have worsened since 2020 and the outbreak of Covid-19, which has devastated economies across the world and led to a loss of lives and livelihoods.
Working within the Growing Gauteng Together plan, the Gauteng provincial government will implement the priorities of economy, jobs and infrastructure; education, skills revolution and health; integrated human settlements and land release; and safety, social cohesion and food security; as well as building a capable, ethical and developmental State to include measures aimed at improving governance across the Gauteng City Region.
“To achieve our objective of ensuring effective and efficient financial management and drive economic transformation, Provincial Treasury has been allocated a budget of more than R792-million for the 2022/23 financial year,” Nkomo-Ralehoko said.
According to the MEC, these resources will be used to improve the province’s own revenue collection to maintain and enhance provincial spending on education, health care and social services; sustain improvements in public finance management to further cut waste, eliminate corruption and strengthen public accountability; use public procurement to transform the economic landscape and build a more inclusive and sustainable growth path; and grow its infrastructure spend through on- and off-budget initiatives.
“That is why we launched the Gauteng Provincial Government Revenue Enhancement Strategy last month. Our overall aim is to increase revenue generated from the province over the next three years by R3.7-billion over and above the 2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework revenue baseline estimates.”
The enforcement of the effective and efficient administration of fiscal resources, including oversight of revenue and expenditure of infrastructure budgets to ensure service delivery, will continue.
“The sustainable fiscal resources management business unit is allocated a budget of R170-million for this financial year to implement its strategic objectives,” she said.
Meanwhile, the financial governance business unit continued to implement interventions to support departments, municipalities and entities to improve management of their finances in accordance with rules and regulations.
“These efforts resulted in the provincial government in the 2020/21 financial year recording a total of 17 clean audits. Local government has also steadily improved financial management with the City of Ekurhuleni and Midvaal maintaining clean audits.
“However, we realise that much work still needs to be done across the Gauteng City Region to sustain improvements in public finance management to further cut waste, eliminate corruption and strengthen public accountability.”
In line with this, Nkomo-Ralehoko chaired the first meeting of the War Room on clean audits, 10- to 30-day payment and transformative procurement.
The War Room brings together Provincial Treasury, Gauteng Department of Cooperative Governance, Office of the Auditor-General, audit committees, national departments, academia and private sector representatives with expertise in specialised areas such as legal, finance, ethics, supply chain and policy.
“As part of the work of this War Room, Provincial Treasury is already working with departments who did not achieve good results in paying suppliers within 30 days in the previous financial year and these are Social Development, Health and Infrastructure Development.
“We are intervening in these departments to resolve outstanding payments and ensure that going forward all our departments pay suppliers on time. This is important to support small business, particularly township enterprises.”
In addition, Gauteng Audit Services (GAS) will conduct internal audits in accordance with approved risk-based plans, which will ensure that problematic areas are identified and addressed timeously to improve final audit outcomes.
“As part of our new organisational structure, we are in the process of enhancing the capacity of GAS to ensure that it achieves its objectives.”
A budget of R137-million has been allocated to financial governance and R134-million to the Gauteng audit services to implement their strategic priorities this financial year.