The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Free State is devastated by the fact that the Free State provincial government have allowed themselves to be bullied into surrendering R4.7 million to help fund South African Airways (SAA).
During the tabling of the Adjustment Appropriation Bill today for the Free State the DA learnt that conditional grants, which are meant to support frontline service delivery efforts in the province, will be reduced as part of a reprioritization implemented by national departments. This means that our government will continue to sacrifice the public purse in an effort to bail out the zombie state-owned enterprise SAA.
With the Free State’s current economic growth at -8.3% we are in fact becoming poorer as a province. The effect that Covid-19 has had on our economy has been catastrophic in that the official unemployment rate in the province has increased from 25.3% to 35.5%.
A victory the DA were able to achieve was the non-implementation of salary adjustments to the tune of R1.522 billion. The Free State cannot afford to allow the salaries of high paid government employees to suffocate our ability to deliver services to our people. Many businesses who pay the taxes required to sustain the civil service have been forced by the current economic environment to shed jobs and cut salaries of staff. The salaries of government employees are unsustainable and the economic taps have now run dry.
There are further positive signs in the agricultural sector in the Free State which is projected to experience a positive GDP growth of 6.6%. Farmers in the Free State have had to endure a difficult time of late, and the DA welcomes this positive news for our agricultural community.
The mere fact that the Free State provincial government has chosen bailing out SAA over choosing to empower the lives of ordinary Free Staters is in principle wrong. It is for this reason, among others, that the DA will not be supporting this Bill.
The DA has long called for the wings of SAA to be clipped in an effort to fast-track service delivery across South Africa. The Free State continues to suffer from corruption and rising levels of municipal debt. Municipal clean audits have become as foreign to Free Staters as the ANC. The last thing Free Staters need now is a budget that is anti-poor.
The DA want to see a budget passed that is people-centred and which enables every Free Stater an opportunity to have a stake in the economy.
Issued by DA