Mathale blames Eurozone debt crisis for Limpopo woes

Limpopo premier Cassel Mathale has claimed that the Eurozone debt crisis has hampered financial growth in the province and appealed to provincial government members not to be “defocused” by the fact that five departments had been placed under national administration.

“This must not defocus from the commitment we have made to the people on the mandate they have given us to deliver to their needs,” he told ANC members at the party’s provincial lekgotla in Polokwane.

He said the province had an obligation to turn the current state of affairs around, “no matter how much we may not like this reality or view it as unwarranted”.

Mathale called on party members to work hard to ensure the Limpopo government got back control of the five departments, and do so quickly.

It was the “responsibility of the caucus to transform constituency offices into one-stop centres that offer assistance to our people”.

Officials who neglected their constituency work and obligations were “betraying the movement and our people.”

Mathale called for the “overdue” reconfiguration of parastatals so they could play a more active role within job creation and economic diversification. However, jobs could not be created without input from the private sector.

Mathale told the meeting that the Eurozone debt crisis had hampered the province’s job creation plan, with growth sustained, but at a slower rate.

“How the recession in South Africa further develops will depend on the economic performance of its key trading partners such as the United States, the European Union and China.”

The two-day long lekgotla ends on Monday.
The province’s finance, education, health and social development, public works, and education departments were placed under the national government’s control last year. The remaining departments were operating under guidelines provided by national government.

The province could not pay its civil servants and was broke. This was because of its unauthorised expenditure, which grew from R1.5 billion in 2009 to R2.7 billion in 2011, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said earlier this month. A forensic investigation into the shortfall was currently underway. — Sapa

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