In a virtual meeting, the Committees were briefed by the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) on the Division of Revenue Second Amendment Bill. Public hearings from civil society on the Bill were received from COSATU, the C19 People’s Coalition and subgroups: #PayTheGrant Campaign and Equal Education. Representatives from the Rural Health Advocacy Project were not present to deliver the submission on behalf of their organisation.
SALGA said the rise in unemployment and the increase in the number of indigent households, as a result of budget cuts, posed a threat to the sustainability of LG functions. In a budget Lekgotla, planned for 11 December 2020, the SALGA planned to review the structure of the LG fiscal framework. The SALGA said that the budget allocation needed to be reconsidered if Local Government (LG) was to be set on a path of sustainability and therefore to set LG on the path of financial sustainability required going back to the drawing board. SALGA felt that a strong focus would be placed on dealing with a government collapse and consequence management. A key aspect was the issue of paying creditors on time - an issue which was flagged by the Auditor-General.
The DA maintained that SALGA came with the same argument about needing more money but offered no solutions to solve the problems. Members asked whether progress was made on the implementation of recommendations on revenue collection and for an indication from the SALGA about the steps that were taken to protect the poor and vulnerable against the potential impact and likely deterioration that the MTBPS would have on LG Finances.
The FF+ compared the SALGA members to ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’. Members asked for the views of the SALGA on the wage bill and wage agreements with regard to municipalities. Members stated that Supply Chain Management (SCM) issues and the lack of consequence management in municipalities were problematic. Members were concerned about the impact that the drop in revenue collection would have on infrastructure maintenance and asked whether the SCM was secured to eradicate wasteful expenditure and to keep irregular expenditure to a bare minimum.
Members requested a breakdown of the R191, 5 billion debts owed to LG as at 30 June 2020 and wanted to know what was being done to recover the money. Members expressed concern and questioned why the same people for example at the Renosterberg municipality that was under administration got re-elected only to make the same mistakes. The Committees heard that the bulk of the R191, 5 billion was owed by households (69%), followed by commercial entities (19%) and the state (7.7%). A multi-disciplinary revenue collection strategy was being assessed by the political task team led by the Deputy President.
Members heard COSATU express grave concern about the high unemployment rate and the economic recession. They expressed to Members that they would have appreciated a better approach from government to address the crises as many SOEs failed in the provinces and at LG level. The crisis in wages would not be solved by the wage bill. COSATU informed Members that government was not paying serious attention to proposals to address corruption and politically exposed persons (PEPs) including spouses and children of politicians should be banned from state tenders. Members heard that on the wage bill COSATU proposed a single collective agreement for the entire state as it was difficult to take ministers seriously about the wage bills who earn exorbitant salaries.
Members heard that it was envisaged that municipalities would experience increased difficulty to collect outstanding debt in the current economic environment and were unhappy that proposed recommendations to address the problem of debt collection, were not implemented and that proactive steps were not taken to limit the negative impact of the pandemic on the economy. Proposals to assist the poor included a reduction in rates and taxes to accommodate ratepayers who were struggling to make payments and the extension of the social relief distress (SRD) grants as a first step toward the implementation of a Universal Basic Income Guarantee (UBIG) policy.
The DA questioned the ANC for nominating and redeploying incapable councillors and called it ‘insane’. This assertion was considered ‘unparliamentary’ by the Co-Chairperson whose response was ‘the DA was the biggest loser in the by-elections despite the insanity of the ANC’.
Members heard #PayThe Grants and Equal Education state that the coalition observed a hollowing out of the functioning at provincial and municipal government levels which had serious implications for service delivery. Examples of interventions that were being abandoned included the Gender Based Violence (GBV) and Femicide emergency plan and the disinvestment in the National Health Insurance (NHI) system. Trade-offs should not be made at the expense of the poor as wage bill cuts disproportionately affected black women in labour intensive sectors. Members were concerned about the cuts in education and health budgets and therefore questioned whether the budget for VIP protection had been cut in the same way.
The Committee recommended that the problems required sustainable solutions. The challenge was to get the economy on a growth trajectory. The contribution from all role players was required to resolve the challenges.
The Chairperson welcomed all officials and members of the public on the platform. He acknowledged the presence of SALGA, COSATU and the C19 People’s Coalition. He said that he hoped that everything would go according to plan despite the fact that it was Friday the 13th. Apologies were received from Members.
The Chairperson requested Members to keep their videos on during the engagement with SALGA.
SALGA Submission: 2020/21 Division of Revenue Second Amendment Bill
Ms Khomotso Letsatsi, Chief Officer: Municipal Finance, Fiscal Policy and Economic Growth, SALGA, was introduced by Councillor Kelvin Johnson to deliver the presentation.
Ms Letsatsi said that SALGA supported the active management of debt. Almost R191, 5 billion as at 30 June 2020 was owed to Local Government (LG). The current economic environment was making it more difficult for municipalities to collect debt.
Macro-economic and fiscal environment
The economy deteriorated further since the adjustment budget was tabled in July 2020. The National Treasury indicated that large revenue shortfalls were expected due to the extraordinary shocks to the economy.
The Impact of the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) on Local Government finances:
It was envisaged that the impact of the MTBPS would cause further deterioration in LG finances. The MTBPS seemed to be silent on relief measures for LG. LG was dealing with unfunded mandates and Conditional Grant cuts across the board. The cuts have come at a challenging time.
2021 Division of revenue framework
The challenge was that only 8.9% of the budget was allocated for LG who was responsible for 46% of constitutional functions. The indigent community was projected to increase. The budget allocation needed to be reconsidered if LG was to be set on a path of sustainability.
2020 MTBPS – Key concerns
SALGA strongly opposed the reduction in conditional grants. Municipalities in distress were increasing and required additional funding. It was not right to take money away from a sector that was already in need in order to contribute to the South African Airways (SAA) rescue plan.
SALGA’s position on Local Government budget cuts:
LG did not enjoy the same priority as SOEs in terms of allocation of funding. Section 230 allowed borrowing by LG as a resource. The challenge was that lower-tier municipalities did not have the funds as was the case with metros that had strong balance sheets. Lots of people lost their jobs which worsened the positions of municipalities. The cutting of finances to LG was therefore a double ‘whammy’.
Considerations for upcoming Budget Forum Lekgotla:
A Budget Lekgotla was scheduled for 11 December 2020. Issues of LG performance, expenditure, infrastructure, asset management, sustainability and powers and functions would be reviewed. To set LG on the path of financial sustainability required going back to the drawing board.
In conclusion, SALGA said that a strong focus would be placed on dealing with government collapse and consequence management. A key aspect was the issue of paying creditors on time, an issue which was flagged by the Auditor-General. A task team led by the Deputy President was set up to encourage communities to pay for municipal services.
The Chairperson invited Members to interact with the representatives of the SALGA on the presentation delivered.
Mr D Ryder (DA, Gauteng) argued that SALGA came with the same argument about needing more money but offered no solutions to solve the problems. Municipalities were not doing the billing in order to collect their own revenue. He noted an example of seven rate payers in Emfuleni who owed over R50 million in arrears. He queried whether SALGA was taking any actions about complaints on a low revenue basis and noted that no comment was made about the District Model. He felt grumpy that the presentation did not fairly reflect the current economic situation.
Mr M Moletsane (EFF, Free State) wanted to know whether progress was made on the implementation of recommendations on revenue collection. He asked for an indication from the SALGA about the steps that were taken to protect the poor and vulnerable against the potential impact and likely deterioration that the MTBPS would have on LG Finances.
Mr S du Toit (FF+, North West) said that 18 of the 22 municipalities in the North West province had unfunded budgets. He questioned how more money could be given if this situation was not correctly handled. He proposed that tariffs should be reduced for people who were unable to pay as the current municipal rates and tariffs were too high. People were not pressured to pay which was the reason for the drop of between 40% and 60% in the collection rate. He said that millions were spent on an audit related to meter reading devices in the JB Marks local municipality where Mr Johnson (of SALGA) was the previous municipal manager and was now the acting mayor. He compared the SALGA members to ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’.
Mr D Joseph (DA) asked for the views of the SALGA on the wage bill and wage agreements with regard to municipalities. He wanted to know whether any further requests were made to LG about the plight of the indigent and what progress had been made regarding unfunded mandates. It was news to him that the SALGA was responsible for 46% of constitutional functions. He requested the SALGA to unpack some of the services covered in the 46% and to indicate what proposals were made with regard to effective debt management. He was sceptical about giving more money.
Ms A Randall (DA, Gauteng Legislature) said that service delivery protests had a massive impact on the functioning of municipalities. Supply Chain Management (SCM) issues and the lack of consequence management in municipalities were also problematic.
Mr O Mathafa (ANC) said that considering Covid-19 challenges, the approach should be different as it relates to IDP and budget planning. He asked for SALGA’s view regarding infrastructure programmes. Without clear planning there was likelihood that assets under construction would be impacted and become white elephants. He wanted to know how municipalities were responding to this challenge. He asked for an explanation on how grant reductions would impact on financial indicators. He was concerned about the impact that the drop in revenue collection would have on infrastructure maintenance. He asked whether the SCM was secured to eradicate wasteful expenditure and to keep irregular expenditure to a bare minimum.
Mr Z Mlenzana (ANC) welcomed the presentation and agreed that the infrastructure build programme was centralised. He asked whether SALGA had advice and mitigating plans to help the presidents’ plan on economic recovery amidst the budget cuts. He asked for the SALGA’s view on channelling money directly to entities such as Eskom and the Water Boards instead of the municipalities. He wanted to know how SALGA was managing the challenges faced by municipalities as a result of the budget cuts and what was being done about municipalities who were unable to spend the funds. He asked whether SALGA was able to justify requests for additional funding.
The Co-chairperson said that numerous recommendations around debt collection were made in previous budget meetings. She acknowledged the impact of Covid-19 on all spheres of government and particularly on LG that was at the face of service delivery but wanted to know whether the recommendations were considered. It did not help to identify problems and not implement recommendations. She asked what SALGA had done in as far as implementing mechanisms for debt collections at municipalities. She referred to a meeting held the previous day in which the Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation indicated that grants would be given to municipalities that were spending the funds. She was of the view that municipalities that were not spending were more in need of the funds. The disastrous state of some municipalities was made clear during site visits by Members of the Committees. The poorest communities were most affected. She needed to be convinced that SALGA had the willingness, plans and capacity to take care of the resources that were being requested. She asked whether LG had developed a plan to ensure that the President’s economic recovery plan filtered down to municipalities. She wanted to know whether SALGA was proactive in taking steps to reduce the shortfalls of LG and to limit the negative impact as a result of the extraordinary shocks to the economy.
The Chairperson said that many of the Members of the Appropriations Committees had been part of LG and were therefore sympathetic to LC challenges. He requested a breakdown of the R191, 5 billion debts owed to LG as at 30 June 2020 and wanted to know what was being done to recover the money. He asked SALGA to share some detail of the unfunded mandates and to indicate what the responsibilities of LG was in terms of the economic reconstruction and recovery plan. He wanted to know if SALGA had any idea about the performance as well as the problems at SOE’s owed by LG.
Mr W Aucamp (DA, Northern Cape) thanked SALGA for the presentation. Referring to the recently held by-elections he questioned why the same people for example at the Renosterberg municipality that was under administration got re-elected only to make the same mistakes. He asked whether SALGA was going to make sure that in future things would be done correctly.
Mr Mlenzana had a concern about Mr Aucamp’s comment on the manner in which parties elected their representatives.
Mr Aucamp replied that it was concerning that the officials who kept on making the same mistakes got re-elected. On the issue of the re-negotiated arrangements with Eskom he said that municipalities were not adhering to the agreements. People on ground level felt the brunt of LG problems, for example electricity cuts, potholes and lack of running water. He asked the SALGA to indicate how money would be allocated correctly and suggested that money should be ring-fenced, for example, money allocated for Eskom should be paid to Eskom.
Councillor Johnson responded to the questions raised by Members on behalf of the SALGA. He acknowledged and appreciated all the concerns raised by Members. He agreed that much work needed to be done to correct the problems in the LG sphere. He remarked that the SALGA was not asking for more money but was highlighting the fact that the distribution of resources was skewed. He proposed that the assumptions in the White Paper be reviewed and the funding model needed further reflection.
Powers and functions: SALGA fully supported the District Model and would to its best to support any intervention to improve service delivery. This was evident from the support of the financial intervention, Municipal Standard of Accounts (MSCOA), where SALGA partnered with provincial departments to empower partners at LG level.
Revenue collection: the Councillor agreed that more needed to be done by municipalities to ensure that revenue collection satisfied the expectations of the communities and those municipalities should augment their revenue collection. The triple challenges of inequality, poverty and unemployment within the South African context was worsened by the Covid-19 situation.
Tariffs: the Councillor was of the view that reducing the tariffs would not assist municipalities with regard to the inability of rate payers to pay for services.
Wage bill: SALGA would support the efforts to contain the wage bill as it would become a serious problem if it was not managed properly.
Indigent policy: communities should be encouraged to register with LG in their efforts to help with the fight against unemployment.
Service delivery protests: SALGA found the response of some communities to service delivery issues unacceptable. It was wrong to burn down a school in instances where water was lacking. A collective effort was needed, including from political parties, to educate communities on how to respond to service delivery concerns.
Consequence management: regular workshops are being conducted to make councillors aware about the implications of consequence management.
Supply Chain Management: The pandemic brought significant changes. However the function required fine tuning.
Conditional Grant Funding: the idea was to make South Africa a construction site in support of economic development. The SALGA confirmed its commitment to the presidential recovery plan and would assist in every effort to revive the economy.
Municipal audit support programme (MASP): SALGA would continue to support the MASP to empower councillors on how to respond to audit issues raised by the Auditor-General (AG).
Debt owed to entities: ongoing discussions were taking place with Eskom and the Water Boards to mitigate the pain inflicted on communities by corruption and the inability of municipalities to pay these entities.
Debt owed to local government: the councillor acknowledged that debt collection remained a challenge and agreed that the presentation should have focused more on debt collection and the implementation of recommendations.
Ms Letsatsi explained that the bulk of the R191,5 billion was owed by households (69%), followed by commercial entities (19%) and the state (7.7%). A multi-disciplinary revenue collection strategy was being assessed by the political task team led by the Deputy President.
The Chairperson thanked the SALGA for their contribution and requested that written responses be submitted to questions that were not answered during the meeting. He invited COSATU to deliver their presentation.
COSATU Submission Medium Term Budget Policy Statement & Second Division of Revenue Amendment Bill
Mr Matthew Parks, Deputy Parliamentary Coordinator, COSATU, thanked the Chairperson for the opportunity to deliver the presentation.
Austerity vs. stimulus
The major areas of concern for COSATU were the high unemployment rate and the economic recession. Government missed the key challenges that caused state leakages.
COSATU would have appreciated a better approach from government to address the crises. Many SOEs fail in the provinces and at LG level. The crisis in wages would not be solved by the wage bill.
COSATU proposals on corruption
Government was not paying serious attention to proposals to address corruption. A single online procurement system was needed for the entire state. Municipalities did not have the capacity to perform the procurement function and only ensured a feeding frenzy. Politically exposed persons (PEPs) including spouses and children of politicians should be banned from state tenders.
Public service wage bill
COSATU felt that government and Parliament was undermining collective bargaining and stated that it was not fair to compare the public and private sector. Nurses and teachers were leaving the public sector.
COSATU proposals on the wage bill
A single collective agreement for the entire state was proposed. It was difficult to take Ministers seriously about the wage bills who earn exorbitant salaries.
The DORA Bill was silent on issues of corruption and wasteful expenditure that were revealed in the AG’s report. The legacy of the late AG, Kimi Makwetu, was not being honoured if no one was being held accountable for corruption and wasteful expenditure.
No explanation was given in the DORA Bill about the consequences of the R18 billion cuts from municipal grants.
COSATU gave cautious ‘thumbs up’ for the Presidential Employment Programme.
Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan
The DORA Bill was silent on clear timeframes and budget allocations in terms of the plan.
Eskom Social Compact
COSATU was not only complaining but were also trying to assist hence it drafted a social compact for Eskom. The situation could not continue where Eskom switched off the electricity due to non-payment by municipalities. Both SALGA and the municipalities should assist in this regard.
Clear road maps are in place to assist distressed SOEs.
Social relief measures
COSATU welcomed the extension of the R350 unemployment grant and deemed it affordable to continue.
UIF Covid-19 TERS
COSAU welcomed the announcement to extend TERS but said it was unfortunate that government needed to be dragged kicking and screaming to grant the extension.
Only 8% of the R200 billion loan guarantee scheme had been dispersed at this stage. Alternative measures needed to be considered to make the scheme successful.
COSATU welcomed the efforts by National Treasury to grant pension fund withdrawals for distressed workers.
Mr Parks concluded that the wage bill was not helping the workers.
The Chairperson thanked COSATU for the efficient use of their allocated time. He invited representatives of the C19 People’s Coalition to deliver their presentation.
Submission: C19 People’s Coalition
Dr Mini Hoffmann indicated that she, assisted by Ms Sacha Knox, would be delivering the presentation on behalf of the #PayThe Grants and Education subgroups of the C19 People’s Coalition. She stated that the coalition observed a hollowing out of the functioning at provincial and municipal government levels which had serious implications for service delivery. Examples of interventions that were being abandoned included the Gender Based Violence (GBV) and Femicide emergency plan and the disinvestment in the National Health Insurance (NHI) system.
Trade-offs should not be made at the expense of the poor. Wage bill cuts disproportionately affected black women in labour intensive sectors. Government had de-prioritised education and health care. Almost 1,6 million children, mainly in rural areas, were not in school. The cut of R240 million in the NHI grant was regarded as irresponsible and detrimental to the health sector.
The coalition remained sceptical of the new interventions for job creation in light of the budget cuts based on the MTBPS allocations. Provision of services by provinces would be crippled at a time when it needed to address the emergency situation caused by the pandemic.
Ms Sacha Knox zoomed in on the investment in social development and said that the MTBPS was rife with rhetoric. The coalition was particularly concerned about the impact of the budget cuts in the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality.
The cut in LG Conditional Grants to fund the SAA rescue plan was indicative of the abandonment of human rights principles within the budgetary process. The disinvestment in service delivery for the poor, for example the R12 million cut from the Integrated Urban Development grant and the R18 million reduction from the Eskom Integrated National Electrification programme, was inexcusable.
Ms Knox was disturbed about the lack of empathy for the poor and found the massive reduction in LG funding, in the context of an ongoing emergency, as indicative of anti-poor sentiments.
The Secretariat explained that the presentation of the Rural Health Advocacy Project had not been submitted.
The Chairperson enquired whether representatives of the Rural Health Advocacy Project were present on the platform as he would like to give them the opportunity to interact with the Committees.
Ms Knox replied that the person who was preparing the presentation for the Rural Health Advocacy Project was dealing with the passing of a close family member and tendered an apology on behalf of the organisation.
The Chairperson thanked Ms Knox for the information and requested the Secretariat to obtain a written submission from the Rural Health Advocacy Project.
The Co-chairperson proposed that the Chairperson should take a firm decision and not allow submissions if it was not received on time. She acknowledged the importance of public participation but appealed for Members to be given sufficient time to engage with the documents before meetings take place.
The Chairperson noted the concern of the Co-chairperson and requested the Secretariat to communicate the request of timely submissions to all stakeholders.
Mr Ryder agreed with many aspects of the COSATU presentation but stated that the wage bill needed to be reduced. The current model of the reduction of the wage bill appeared to be unscientific. It seemed to be targeting people who are actually working and not the unproductive cadres who were using the services of consultants to do their work. The cuts in education and health budgets were concerning. He questioned whether the budget for VIP protection had been cut in the same way. He valued the first half of the #PayTheGrant Campaign presentation but disagreed with the second half of the presentation. He did not agree that pulling health care down to the lowest common denominator was the right way to go in the implementation of the NHI.
Mr Joseph agreed that public participation was important and supported the idea to capacitate SARS to deal with the shortfall in revenue collection. He disagreed with the centralised procurement system and said that a decentralised system would give opportunities to smaller companies. He compared the current economic situation with that of the Titanic and said that all role players must make a contribution or we all would go down. He agreed with Dr Hoffmann that the increase in the Early Childhood Development grant was a positive intervention. On the issue of daily protest actions, he urged that the focus should be on more positive events that happened in communities. He supported the Co-chairperson on the issue of submissions being made in advance and said that public participation should not be regarded as merely a tick box exercise.
Mr Mathafa welcomed the presentation. Referring to the comment made by Mr Aucamp on the outcome of the elections, he said that it was sad that it was described as a sign of insanity on behalf of the voters. Directing his attention to COSATU, he asked what actions the union was taking to address the issue of irregular and wasteful expenditure. He questioned the role of unions in the private sector in terms of holding investors accountable who were not investing in the country. He disagreed with Ms Hoffmann that government was silent on the issue of GBV issues and asked whether the three bills passed were not sufficient. He said that not all challenges required financial solutions.
Mr Aucamp replied that he did not say that voters were insane but that the ANC was insane for nominating and redeploying incapable councillors.
Mr Mlenzana asked whether Mr Aucamp was questioning the integrity of the electorate.
The Co-chairperson was taking the comment very seriously and said it was ‘unParliamentary’. She requested the Chairperson to rule that the comment be withdrawn.
The Chairperson asked Mr Aucamp whether he uttered the comment about voters being insane.
Mr Aucamp repeated that it was insane to put the same councillors in place that caused the collapse of some municipalities.
The Co-chairperson said that in his explanation Mr Aucamp was still suggesting that the ANC was insane. She said that the DA was the biggest loser in the by-elections despite the insanity of the ANC.
The Chairperson replied that he would go through the record before making a ruling.
The Co-chairperson requested Mr Parks to further unpack the issue of: Outsourcing the Bill to Workers. A reflection of the underlying causes would help the Committees with the oversight duties. She was not happy about COSATU’s proposal to ban children of PEPs from getting tenders. She did not have a problem with the tender system as long is the process was correctly applied and not abused. She warned that the issue must be carefully dealt with and asked whether it was a problem for children of PEPs to work for government. Frontline workers delivered important services and should not be compromised by the wage bill issues. It was her view that consequence management should apply to everyone and not only focus on senior managers and politicians. Cost cutting measures should focus on issues that would make a serious impact and not on minor issues such as business class versus economy class travelling which would make no real difference.
The Chairperson said that the problems required sustainable solutions. The challenge was to get the economy on a growth trajectory. COSATU should be prioritising local manufacturing of goods in order for the state to procure from local suppliers for infrastructure development. He remarked that the presentation from #PayTheGrant Campaign was thin on where government was supposed to get the money to fund the proposed interventions. In light of the criticism of the money allocated for the SAA rescue plan, he asked what the attitude was of #PayTheGrant Campaign representatives toward the SAA workers and their dependants.
Response: #PayTheGrant Campaign
Ms Knox was outraged that the platform provided the opportunity for MP’s to engage rather than the public. She felt that far more time should be allocated for participation from communities. She remarked that the presentation was thoroughly researched and was therefore outraged that Mr Ryder agreed with the first half of the presentation but disagreed with the second half of the presentation.
Ms Knox stated that the crux of the presentation reflected a disinvestment in service delivery for the poor. Communities were asked to believe in new policy interventions, for example in the case of the GBV emergency plan, while existing infrastructure was being abandoned. New plans would not be implemented if measures were not in place to assess the plans. There was no way out from the crisis without drastically reducing inequality. The MTBPS fell short in this regard therefore the coalition believed that the Universal Basic Income Grant (UBIG) was a good policy to address the needs of the poor.
Ms Knox explained that the coalition submitted multiple funding option ideas, for example a wealth tax, inheritance and carbon taxes. There were various practical options to consider but it should not be done as a trade-off for education and health funding.
Dr Hoffmann said that Members needed to acknowledge that black women were hit the hardest by GBV. The public health system should not be regarded as the lowest common denominator. It was the public health system that provided effective service during the HIV and AIDS pandemic.
Dr Hoffmann said that the budget of the institution responsible for revenue collection should not be cut if the goal was to improve the financial situation of the country.
Mr Parks said that the DA agreeing with COSATU was a positive sign given the challenges in the country. Workers would be affected if the state approached the IMF for funding. He said that issuing a press statement on such issues did not constitute an agreement.
He agreed that the ‘Titanic’ situation required all citizens to play a role. Stricter control over procurement of large items such as PPE’s and text books should be exercised to avoid mass looting across the state. He expected the private sector to come to the party to address the salary discrepancies between the CEO’s of companies and the workers. He was worried about the brain drain.
Mr Parks urged government to respond much faster to the issues of wasteful expenditure. He reported that a comrade in the Venda municipality was murdered for exposing corruption but no one was arrested. The level of corruption made it difficult to campaign for elections.
The real solution to the debt crisis was to stimulate the economy. Clear road maps were needed to address the structural issues at SOEs.
Mr Parks said that when 10% of the budget was lost due to corruption and wasteful expenditure than harsher action was needed against PEPs. The PPE scandal revealed the involvement of children of PEPs. He said that here was too much at stake, they should do business with the private sector.
The feeling amongst workers was that politicians were not being held accountable while their future was being compromised. The issue of flights was two-fold; it involved not only the issue of cost but also had a symbolic element.
In conclusion, Mr Parks said that the UIF Covid-19 relief interventions were funded by workers money. Workers had never been on an investment strike.
The Chairperson appreciated the participation of civil society and said that the issues raised were not easy to deal with. The contribution from all role players was required to resolve the challenges.
Mr Mlenzana wanted to raise a question but the Chairperson requested that he be allowed to suppress the question as it would open the floor for more questions.
In conclusion, the Chairperson said that the issues discussed were important as it impacted the lives of people. He requested Members to maintain decorum so that the course of the people could be advanced.
The meeting was adjourned.
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