One of the modules I take at NMMU is Public Resource Management, and what a relevant subject this spring! Of course in a country like South Africa, struggling with poverty, corruption and worsening unemployment, public spending is always highly relevant. However, both on local and national level, public spending has been given a lot of attention lately, for various reasons.
In local news, ANC’s wish to spend R5 m on the 20 Years of Freedom Events stirred some pots. The opposition did not agree to R5 m, but they ended up reluctantly agreeing to R1.4 m. The following quote illustrates the clashing view of the opposition towards ANC’s budget proposition for the events.
“We agreed on R1.4-million, no more. This is not only an irregular expenditure but, in my view, gross wasteful expenditure” - DA councillor Angelo Dashwood
On national level the budget has of course been an important headline. The national budget of South Africa, the budget speech as well as other documents related to it can be found on the National Treasury website. The budget has been described as pragmatic and poignant.
Other public expenditures are not so easily praised. I am guessing most of my readers have heard about the criticism president Zuma face after spending public funds on his private home. The Public Protector made stinging criticism of the president and ministers who have been involved, in her report (the Nkandla report is available on the Public Protector website). According to the Public Protector, the Nkandla project was handled in an ‘appalling’ manner, and ‘state funds were abused’. Opposition parties have pressed criminal charges against the president and want to initiate impeachment.
Poems are also being written about this case. This one I stumbled across at the Times iLive page, written by a user called ‘The Lone Groover ZA’, titled ‘My President‘.
My president is a fool,
he has no understanding
of the difference
serve and rule.
My president is a liar,
he lines his pockets
and he lights the fire
over his objects
My president is a thief,
rotten to the core
way beyond belief
living in the past
and thinking like a chief.
The election is coming up in May, so we have yet to see how this case will affect ANC turnout . Speculators say that ANC will win with a reduced majority, and in the meantime, there is a lot written about damage control and war of words inside the party.