Mpumalanga MEC for Finance, urges more effort to ensure the provincial budget accomplishes its purposes

Tuesday, 30 June 2013

Mpumalanga MEC for Finance, Madala Masuku says more needs to be done in ensuring that departments and public entities go back to the basics of financial management and prudent spending of public finances.

Addressing a one-day workshop aimed at addressing the high litigation claims against the State held in Nelspruit on Wednesday, 24 July 2013, MEC Masuku urged Legal Practitioners to assist the government to minimize the social and financial impact that litigations pose to the provincial budgets and ultimately to service delivery programmes.

“I want to urge all legal practitioners, public service managers and parties to any disputes to consider mediation and avoid litigation stage at all costs.

“The latter stage of dispute resolution has the potential to lead to unfavourable social and financial impact to all parties and by extension to the poor people, who are affected by the unfortunate diversion of resources to meet the legal fees and additional obligations arising from such process.

“We are tasked with a responsibility of ensuring prudent management of financial and non-financial assets within the province. For this reason, we want to emphasize that every rand of the R33.6 billion budget appropriated for the 2013/14 financial year must accomplish its intended purpose, that is, to provide and improve quality of services to the people,” said MEC Masuku.

MEC Masuku said the Provincial Treasury is strengthening its oversight role on the provincial budget to improve the quality of public expenditure within the various provincial state institutions.

The Provincial Retreat on the State of Litigation against the Provincial Government follows an earlier observation made by MEC Madala Masuku in his recent budget speech that litigation claims against the State constitute the second highest and rising costs to the provincial budget after the compensation of employees.

Since 30 April 2013 the Provincial Government has reduced its litigation claims by R15 800 000. The Government has also saved an amount of R3 300 000 through settlement processes, something which supports the view that the costs for settlement are far less than the costs of full litigation. A claim amounting to R670 000 was successfully defended recently.

The Provincial Government has also managed to redirect close to R300 million from consumption to increase resources for service delivery through the process of reprioritization during the process of preparing budget for the current fiscal year.

He added that public service officials and managers must be cautious to the main objective of the government, which is, serving the people with honesty, limiting risk exposure of public resources and delivering accountable service to the people.

“It is important that all of us go back to simple basics of performing our responsibilities, mindful of the direct or indirect effect that these have on patterns and quality of expenditure.

“We must develop and encourage an attitude, amongst the officials, of frowning on acts that lend to public funds being eaten away due to losses resulting from wasteful and fruitless expenditure,” Masuku said