Letter: Bhisho must be strict with underspending

As the Eastern Cape provincial Treasury budget speech has been presented, I call on MEC of Finance Sakhumzi Somyo to be strict on unspent budget allocations while our province is suffering.

I also call on the premier and the ANC leadership, which fortunately includes Somyo, to stop being lenient with the useless heads of our departments, useless municipal managers, useless chief executive officers of our state-owned entities (SOEs) and chief financial officers of all our institutions who are good at looting and excellent in returning funds to Treasury, maybe due to incompetence.

It is a shame that after 22 years of democracy we still observe early childhood centres, such as the one outside Dutywa, operating in a mud rondavel with not even toys and books for the kids.

It is a shame still to observe mud schools and rural areas with no medical centres such as clinics and even mobile clinics.

This is an insult to the ANC and our icon and long-serving ANC president, the late Tata Oliver Reginald Tambo, whose centenary we celebrate.

I call on the MEC to be radical in dealing with these departments.

Those heads of departments assigned to pursue these programmes need to be shown the door.

It’s worrying that most of our departments cannot spend budget allocated while our early childhood centres and schools are still of mud and there are roads with no bridges.

I applaud certain heads of our departments, such as Advocate James Mlawu, of roads and public works, Dr Thobile Mbengashe, of health, Lumkile Ngada, of rural development and agrarian reform, Gaster Sharpley, of human settlements, Stanley Khanyile, of social development, and Irene Mpolweni, of transport, who under difficult conditions are trying hard and need political assistance.

In our SOEs we are still proud of Simphiwe Nkondlo, of the ELIDZ, Lefadi Makibinyane, of the Amatola Water Board, Thozi Gwanya, of the Eastern Cape Rural Development Agency, Ndzondelelo Dlulane, of the Eastern Cape Development Corporation, and Pepi Silinga, of Coega Development Corporation, but they also need our political support.

Office of the Premier director-general Marion Mbina-Mthembu also needs leaders of this nature to move forward.

Her administrative leadership is improving, but without decisive leadership at a political level we will continue pointing fingers.

There are those who are still lazy and indeed good at returning budget to Treasury. Any head of department who returns budget unspent because of (a lack of) capacity must not serve our poor and marginalised people.

The MEC needs to be radical in transforming these departments and accelerating service delivery.

Corruption and maladministration have no room in our province, from the political heads to the junior officials in supply chain units.

Those continuing with corruption must be dealt with severely. Failing to deal with these few culprits will judge the premier and MEC harshly.

The time is now for all people of the Eastern Cape to be united and defend our hard-earned democracy. We must stop at nothing in mentioning those culprits and fake leaders who are in our provincial departments with a mission of looting and destroying the ANC-led government.

We must collectively and jealously defend the gains of our revolution and remain vigilant in the face of intense antagonism. It must never elude us that forces of counter-revolution remain active and are waiting in the wings for opportunities to destroy the ANC.

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