AUSTERITY CAMPAIGN TOO LATE TO SAVE EASTERN CAPE

The R1, 930 billion Adjustment budget and austerity campaign announced by the Eastern Cape MEC for Finance, Mcebisi Jonas, will not deal effectively with the rampant over-expenditure in this province. It’s a question of too little, too late.

This adjustment budget does not take into account the exposure of the province of potential payments of R600 million in relation to the back-pay to civil servants dating back to 1994. (HROPT process).

The R3, 1 billion potential over-expenditure less the R1, 930 billion leaves a shortfall of R1, 2 billion onto which the R600 million must be added.

The Democratic Alliance called for an austerity campaign in July during the budget process. It should have been implemented then. We are highly sceptical that an austerity campaign that kicks off this month will yield the necessary savings.

The Department of Health continues to face a crisis as its projected over expenditure of R1, 6 billion is only negated by R445 million in the adjustments budget. This means health services will continue to come under huge pressure. The province should have followed the DA Western Cape Government who managed to produce savings of R1, 5 billion by cutting back on unnecessary expenditure.

A simple step that would improve the financial management of the Eastern Cape is for culprits responsible for the ongoing financial mismanagement of this province to be disciplined in terms of the Public Finance Management Act. This would go a long way in instilling a culture of accountability.

For further information, please contact Bobby Stevenson, MPL on 082 775 3444.