(Budget vote debate in Free State Legislature)
The Free State already found itself in a dire economic crisis even before the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic, lockdown, additional restrictions and the government's irrational regulations only made matters worse.
The agricultural sector recorded the greatest loss of job opportunities in the first quarter of 2020. Even before the lockdown period commenced, unemployment in the Free State had already risen with 3,4% and it is projected that the provincial economy will contract with -0,9% over the next five years.
The Free State MEC for Treasury, Gadija Brown, has admitted that money is spent on the wrong things as she was able to re-prioritise 67% of the non-essential items in the budget to help mitigate the impact of the pandemic. These non-essential items include, among other things, entertainment, catering, transport and hiring venues.
The FF Plus wants to challenge the MEC to keep cutting back on such items in the future as well – keep the money-taps closed for luxuries even then the pandemic is over.
The economy cannot grow successfully when failed ideologies and policy enjoy preference above all else. It will not grow while the state coffers are being looted and emptied out by corruption and non-essential luxuries.
The people of the Free State deserve to have a government that addresses and solves the province's problems and not officials who remain in their positions for self-serving reasons.
All attempts to mitigate the current financial crisis are doomed to fail if the ruling party does not have the political will to address the situation and turn it around.
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