Budget blunders: Mpumalanga funds failing projects

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Budget blunders: Mpumalanga funds failing projects

RISE Mzansi has slammed the Mpumalanga provincial budget for continuing to allocate
funds to failed and corruption-plagued projects instead of investing in community
development. The R61.6 billion budget for 2024/2025, tabled by MEC Nompumelelo
Hlophe, increases spending on several incomplete initiatives that have drained taxpayer
money for years.

“The Mpumalanga Provincial Treasury has become an ATM with no pin code, where
uncaring and corrupt politicians are able to make withdrawals as and when they
please,” said Sipho Mawelela, RISE Mzansi’s Mpumalanga Campaign Coordinator.

A glaring example is the Mpumalanga International Fresh Produce Market, intended to
boost food security and create jobs. Despite starting construction in 2013 with an
estimated R400 million budget, the project remains unfinished a decade later. It has
now consumed over R2 billion after receiving R170 million in the latest budget.

“The sole intention of this project is to serve as a cash cow for the politicians involved
and the connected businessmen,” Mawelela stated.

Similarly, the Mkhondo Boarding School, meant to cost R200 million when announced
in 2018, has already burned through R600 million with just R32.4 million more allocated.
The Driekoppies and eMalahleni bridge projects also continue receiving funds despite a
lack of visible progress.

“Another surprising allocation is the R100 million allocated to The School for The Blind
and Deaf. This project was supposed to start construction in 2014 and one wonders if it
will ever be built,” Mawelela said.

While R1.6 billion was budgeted for road maintenance, RISE Mzansi noted the
province’s infrastructure remains severely potholed and crumbling after R5 billion was
already spent last year.

“Mpumalanga needs new leaders who will stop corruption and ensure that money goes
to the development of communities,” Mawelela declared.

The outcry highlights growing frustration among citizens over the apparent misallocation
of public funds in Mpumalanga. Many see the budget as prioritizing the enrichment of
connected elites over basic service delivery and economic upliftment.