Every Rand Counts
As part of its oversight role, as the official opposition, the Democratic Alliance has created this page to monitor the ANC government's excessive expenditure. We have done this to show that, very often, the needs of the ANC elite are put before the needs of ordinary South Africans.
Mindful of the tendency for governments to engage in reckless wasteful expenditure, DA governments across municipalities have implemented austerity measures that not only restrict self-indulgent spending but streamline government finances to ensure effective financial management.
For instance, when the DA assumed office in the Western Cape in 2009, a decision was taken by the provincial cabinet to cease unnecessary spending on motor vehicles. Controversially, national cabinet members had spent millions of rands on new cars for themselves when assuming office in 2009, ignoring the fact that such spending was both unnecessary and unethical and hiding behind the fact that their purchases were formally protected by the Executive Ethics Handbook.
The DA-run Western Cape decided that no new cars would be bought by provincial DA ministers if there were already serviceable cars in the government garage. Since then, cars have only been replaced if there has been an absolute need for such replacement and not to satisfy the preferences of individual cabinet ministers.
We have attempted to inculcate this spirit of responsible spending throughout all our governments and have made it the core tenet of our government. The Every Rand Counts campaign points to numerous examples of irregular and wasteful spending by ANC governments due to corrupt tender processes; contracts awarded on the basis of political connections rather than suitability for the job.
Upon assuming the government of the City of Cape Town in a DA-led coalition in 2006, the DA immediately reformed the city’s tender processes. Today, any contract for city business over the value of R2000 is publicly advertised online where bidders register their competition for the contracts and the process is completely open to public scrutiny.
Furthermore, the city’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) is now chaired by a member from an opposition party thus ensuring full disclosure and scrutiny.
Our austerity measures and focus on managing clean finances, whereby public money is put to work for the people, has paid dividends. This year, the City of Cape Town received its fourth unqualified audit in a row under DA administration. At the end of last year, the Auditor-General’s report showed that the Western Cape was the only province in South Africa to receive unqualified audits for all of its departments, a first in South Africa’s democratic history, a true victory for the austerity measures implemented by the DA in 2009.
Governments should always act as responsible custodians of public money to ensure that the public’s money works for them and does not serve the personal indulgences of government members. This involves a commitment from governments on numerous levels. The first is to actively restrict excessive spending, cutting down on waste and unnecessary expenses. The second, much harder part is to infuse all aspects of government with an ethos of responsible financial management, ensuring that budgets are spent on the things for which they were allocated.
To date, ANC governments have not been living up to these requirements and the result is the wasting of nearly R4 billion of public money that could have been used for much greater needs, the needs of the South African people.
We are calling on South Africans to say, with one voice, that enough is enough – and that it is time to usher in a new era of financial responsibility and good government.