The Premier of Gauteng, Panyaza Lesufi, needs to explain why he thinks it is a priority to repurpose funds previously aimed at sustaining starving children and elderly citizens and indicate how much money he thinks is fair and necessary to maintain these programmes.
Various NPOs this week reacted in frustration after The Gauteng MEC for Social Development, Mbali Hlophe, indicated that their funding had been reprioritised to the drug and substance abuse programme as part of the premier’s “identified priorities”. Comparing the allocated budgets from 2022/23 and 2023/24, there is a radical decrease in funding for care and services to older people, people with disabilities, child care and protection and crime prevention and support. However, programmes related to substance abuse received a funding increase of more than 55% from the previous year.
“It is unacceptable to starve innocent children and neglect the vulnerable older persons in the province who cannot fend for themselves,” said Tshepi Mmekwa, Action Centre coordinator at Action Society. “The premier needs to get his priorities straight. Action Society feels that crime prevention and care for the vulnerable should top substance rehabilitation.”