by Mike Waters

Budget cut aids social ills

A cut in funding aimed at alleviating poverty

Budget cut aids social ills
A cut in funding aimed at alleviating poverty

In a meeting of the Portfolio Committee for Social Development, the Acting Director-General of the Department, Wiseman Magasela, revealed that the sub-programme for Older Persons, Substance Abuse, People with Disabilities, Children and Families would see a R11-million budget cut in the 2012/13 financial year.

The budget for the sub-programme was R525 048 million in 2012/13 and will be reduced to R513 105 million in 2013/14.

The Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, should explain why a budgetary item necessary to alleviate poverty for those that need it the most was cut.

During the meeting, Mr Magasela suggested that the budget cut was necessitated by 'efficiency saving'. While it is sometimes necessary for Departments to cut budgets and reduce costs, cutting funding intended to provide social relief to the most vulnerable in our country is not the way to do it.

If the rampant levels of corruption in government departments were to be reduced, an approximate R30 billion would be saved. Reducing corruption would mean that cutting funding for those in our country that most need our assistance would not be necessary.

There are a number of measures that government could implement to reduce corruption, such as:

  • Legislation prohibiting public officials from doing business with the state.
  • Ensuring that criminal charges are laid against officials who contravene the Public Finance Management Act.
  • Interventions in terms of section 216(2) of the Constitution - which allows for funds to corrupt municipalities to be withdrawn.
  • The finalisation of legislation pertaining to the establishment of a National Procurement Officer.
  • The co-ordination of infrastructure projects at the highest level.

The Department of Social Development is there to provide state assistance for those who need it most. Cutting funding for those that it's meant to serve is unacceptable.

What are your thoughts?

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This edition

Issue 23


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