By Thandeka Matebesi
The Beitbridge Progressive Residents and Rate Payers Association Development Trust ( BPRRADT) has branded the National Budget Consultation which was billed for last Friday inaccessible and exclusionary.
In a statement, BPRRA Deputy Secretary for Information, Jabulani Makhado said the venue chosen for the consultations was too far for many residents to get to.
“As Beitbridge Progressive Residents and Rate Payers Association Development Trust ( BPRRADT), we are very much concerned about the National Budget Consultative meeting which was scheduled to take place or has taken place on the 16th day of October 2020.Budget Consultation is a very important process at which citizens’ participation is a key ingredient”.
Sadly for the citizens of Beitbridge, the Ministry of Finance has indirectly disenfranchised us in the 2021 budget process. Collen Bawn is 175km away. It is too far for us yet we also want to contribute.
“Our concern is the distance that Beit Bridge residents have to travel so that they can participate in the process. The impact of the COVID19 pandemic is still upon us and traveling to and from Collen Bawn and parting with R300 ( Three hundred Rands) in the process, is a challenge and cause for concern”, said Makhado.
He added that the authorities should decentralize the venues for the public consultations so that every resident is able to contribute.
Makhado said there is no guarantee that written submissions would reach their destination.
“As Beitbridge Residents, we feel that the decision to hold the consultation meeting at a centralised place is disadvantaging us and depriving our input. An input that we feel is of great importance and help to our underdeveloped area. We demand that the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Finance conduct district based consultations in order to afford every person who wants to participate an opportunity to do so”.
“Us as Beitbridge Residents, being asked and or told to write letters or reports as a means to submit our input contributions to the Committee is not acceptable as there is no guarantee that whatever we submit would be considered’, said Makhado.