Our government’s blunders


THE 104 YEAR OLD McCORD HOSPITAL, in KZN, will shut down this week. Why are they shutting down? No enough funding from the government. On the other side of the stories this week, we heard that the public works department misspent more than R3 billion from 2009 to March 2013. It’s very frustrating.

Not long ago, I read in one of the news websites, that the Eastern Cape government misspent more than R 5 billion in the financial year 2011-2012. And this week it’s all very funny, because on the one hand you have an institution that provides life to our ailing citizens embroiled in bankruptcy; while on the other you have more than R 3 billion misspent in the public works department.

I pay more than R 4000.00 in taxes; and to hear such stories about our government really frustrates me. You know, I think I’d be less critical of government, but I’d still be, had I seen this money being efficiently spent on education or improving our crumbling infrastructure. But the fact is that most of it just disappears. Well, factually, it doesn’t disappear; it gets stolen by thieves within public institutions. Given all these deficiencies we hear about almost every day, most of us still insist that any initiative through government is best and it’s inclusive of everybody. This is not really the case. Everything through government lacks efficiency. Why is that? Because remember, it’s not their money, so they’ll just do anything they want with it. It’s sad, but it’s true. Milton Friedman once said:

“Nobody spends somebody else’s money as wisely as he spends his own”

Most of the plans by the state incorporate bloating the government. And because it is so, when these plans are executed, outputs will be less than inputs – inefficiency. The return from the investment will be close to zero if not zero, or perhaps negative. Do we really need to go through this? Do we? I think we need intelligent and sustainable solutions to social problems of today. Those people will continue to misuse our money. Remember, anything by government is limited and there’s nothing as biased as a government programme. PM


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