The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Mpumalanga welcomes a decision by the provincial government to increase the Tourism Sector’s budget after we raised concerns earlier this month about a R40 million reduction.
In the first week of November, the DA revealed that the Department of Finance & Economic Development reduced the Tourism budget by R40 million in the second quarter of the current financial year. We are happy to announce that during the tabling of the Mpumalanga Adjustment Budget on Tuesday, MEC Pat Ngomane announced that the Sector’s budget will be increased by R1 108 754.
With Tourism being one of Mpumalanga’s economic drivers, the DA believes that the latest increase will help the Sector, especially in this economically difficult time. It is paramount to enable this Sector to be equipped to ensure economic growth during this time.
The DA also welcomes Ngomane’s decision to increase the food relief fund (food parcels) by R40 million. Although this increase should bring much needed relief to thousands of residents who are truly dependent on this for survival, the DA is concerned that these food parcels will be used for political scoring by the politically connected.
The biggest concern for the DA is that Ngomane reduced the Department of Health’s budget by R620 million while the Province and the rest of the country continues to battle the Covid-19 pandemic.
Public healthcare facilities in Mpumalanga were already unable to cope before Covid-19 hit, and with the pandemic many healthcare facilities are worse off especially patients who are in dire need of orthopaedic procedures.
The DA is also concerned that budget of the Agriculture sector was reduced by R39.7 million – taking into consideration that this department was one of the sectors which grew and produced much needed jobs.