Open letter to the Minister of Finance re Investigate the lack of infrastructure and service delivery in Transkei  by Bantu Holomisa, MP - UDM President (19/02/2002)

19 February 2002

Mr Trevor Manuel
Minister of Finance
PO Box 29

Dear Sir


I recently toured the Transkei region of the Eastern Cape, and was again struck by the severe lack of infrastructure and service delivery in that area. Many people have approached me about this matter, and therefore I herewith request that you institute an investigation on public spending in  the Transkei. I am of the opinion that mechanisms must be developed to scrutinise and monitor the spending of all funds allocated to the Transkei, since it is by all indications the poorest region in the country.

People are beginning to question the figures that are announced in the Budget every year, since they do not experience an improvement in infrastructure and service delivery.

The 1993/94 Budget allocation of the then Transkei government was approximately R6 billion. There is also a growing feeling that funds allocated and spent since 1994/95 to date does not even approach the R6 billion allocated eight years ago.

Due to the fact that funds allocated to RDP not realising in tangible development on the ground, people are flocking to the cities to swell the informal settlements and slums.

Attached is a letter I recently wrote to the Eastern Cape Premier, Mr Stofile, regarding these matters. Allow me to site, aside from those is that letter, one example of the degradation in Transkei. Umtata General Hospital, the biggest in the region, has no medicine. This is a scandal.

The people of the Eastern Cape have won numerous court battles against government, such as the Tracor employees, soldiers, teachers, nurses etc. who had their monies withheld by the government regarding outstanding payment due to them after they took packages. Those payments have still not been made. Contractors and other professionals like the architects, quantity surveyors etc. are also experiencing the same frustrating situation of not receiving compensation for services delivered to the state.

President Mbeki's central theme of the State of the Nation address was " the rolling back of the frontiers of poverty" and "the creation of a better life for all". We cannot hope to achieve this noble objective while we discriminate in the allocation of financial resources in this country. Our country is characterised by the existence side by side of extremely rich and extremely poor provinces. Budgets which had been approved, on the basis of accepted business plans for the King Sabata Dalindyebo municipality in the Eastern Cape for roads and water-sewerage reticulation have been frozen in Bisho and will now be returned to treasury. Reason? A UDM run municipality must not be seen to deliver to the voters. Where projects have taken off in the Transkei they are to be found in the hometown of the Minister of Public Works, this is all reminiscent of the dark ages of our blighted history. I invite you and your officials to tour the Transkei and see for yourselves the appalling state of the roads, schools, government buildings and health services in this area of the Eastern Cape.

Delivery takes place at the second and third tier levels of government. It is mandatory on central government, and your office in particular, to closely monitor the provinces and stop the rolling over of budgets in the provinces when there are so many backlogs in the delivery of essential services.

The people of Transkei feel that they made a considerable contribution to the struggle of this country. The figures that are stated in previous budgets do not tally with the reality on the ground.

For the above reasons it is urgently required that it be determined whether under-spending and under-development is as a result of national or provincial government's failures. Given the levels of poverty and unemployment in the region, and the large amount of people affected, immediate intervention is a priority.

Good luck for tomorrow's budget speech, unfortunately I will not be in the House due to prior engagements. However, Dr Gerhard Koornhof, UDM Deputy President, will comment on your speech.

Kind regards
Mr HB Holomisa, MP
President - United Democratic Movement