A chaotic picture of the Eastern Cape’s finances is being painted in the media with contradictory reports surrounding the true state of the province’s finances. Treasury is reported as saying the Department of Health could be R2,5 billion in deficit while the department claims it has different figures.
If the Health- and Education departments continue to overspend, it will create further instability in the province’s finances. This will derail service delivery, not only in these two departments but also across all other departments, as they will be forced to make savings to cover the huge potential deficits.
At a finance portfolio committee meeting held last week, when I questioned officials on possible over- expenditure, this huge Health deficit was not mentioned. I have tabled a question for oral reply to the MEC for Finance, Phumulo Masualle, to answer to the House as to what the true picture is.
The entire provincial cabinet needs to throw its weight behind the Provincial Treasury’s efforts to tighten up the management of the province’s finances. Without strong political leadership the province will continue to lurch from one financial crisis to another.
This translates into teachers, doctors and nurses not being paid, a lack of medicines in clinics and a shortage of textbooks in the classrooms.
The DA will continue to demand that departments stick to their budget and do not continue to engage in unauthorised expenditure.