The IFP has voiced its concern about the failure of several provincial government departments to spend budget allocations for job creation and disasters given the high unemployment rate and the ongoing controversies surrounding the natural disaster funding for KZN.
"With millions of people in KZN out of work and with the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) being the provincial government's flagship job creation policy, it is inexcusable that individual government departments which receive this funding do not spend it," said Shadow KZN MEC for Finance Roman Liptak MPL.
The IFP notes with concern that while the youth unemployment currently stands at 73 percent in KZN and the provincial government keeps rejecting more workable alternatives to the EPWP programmes, such as the job subsidy, several departments, notably Social Development and Human Settlements, are not spending their allocated EPWP funding.
"Although we have repeatedly criticised the EPWP programmes for creating short-term employment opportunities where little or no transfer of marketable skills takes place rather than creating sustainable jobs, we are concerned that this programme is not being implemented at all," said Liptak.
The IFP is therefore calling for a review of the performance of the existing EPWP programmes with a focus on their performance, including the number, nature, average duration and geographical spread of all such employment opportunities created in the province as well as the challenges associated with the spending of these funds by the government departments that receive them.
Similarly, the IFP has long articulated its misgivings about the lack of funding and reimbursement in full for the effects of natural disasters for the affected communities in KZN from National Treasury which routinely creates unfunded mandates for the provincial government departments that are tasked with the implementation of KZN's disaster management framework.
"It turns out that some departments, such as Human Settlements, are not even spending the modest amounts that are allocated to them for disasters. The calls on National Treasury for a full reimbursement of disaster funding are disingenuous when the funds that have already been paid to the province go unspent and cannot be rolled over into the new financial year due to inadequate planning," said Liptak.