EASTERN CAPE FARES WORST ON CAPITAL EXPENDITURE

There is only one way to fix the poor expenditure patterns in the Eastern Cape and that is for MEC’s to sign performance agreements with the Premier. Cabinet ministers are required to do this with the president and ANC mayors are now also required to sign such agreements. Why are MEC’s being left out? The simple way to improve service delivery is to enforce political accountability – deliver or go. It’s time for the ANC to make some hard choices.

Once again the Eastern Cape has the lowest pattern of capital expenditure out of all the provinces for the 2010/2011 financial year which ended on March 31, 2011. This impacts negatively on the lives of the poorest of the poor in this province who are desperate for a better education and for better health care services. The fact that the hospital revitalization conditional grant was also under spent says it all.

Overall the Eastern Cape only spent 65% of its capital budget according to the fourth quarter figures released by the National Treasury. This was the lowest of all the provinces.

The fact that education has only spend 43.9 % of its capital budget and health only 55.1 % for the 2010/2011 financial year must serve as a wake-up call to the provincial government that something is rotten in the “State of Bhisho”.

Education only spent R396 million out of R903 million. This is 54.3% less than they spent last year. Health only spent R740 million out of R1.344 billion. This is 20% down on last year’s expenditure.

It’s a tragedy that funds are available and can’t be spent when there is a crying need throughout this province for better education and health facilities. Schools without roofs and hospitals that lack basic equipment violate people’s human rights.

One can only imagine how many new schools could have been built with R500 million that is unspent. For example in the new housing development area beyond Booysens Park in Port Elizabeth where there are 5 300 new homes, there is a need for four primary- and two secondary schools. It’s a damn disgrace: the money is there but the implementation is missing.

With regard to health one can only imagine what equipment, clinics, new hospitals and ambulances could have been procured with R600 million unspent.

This situation under a DA-led provincial government would never occur. Poor patterns of capital expenditure keep poor people in a poorer state than they might necessarily be. The ANC got a strong message from the electorate via the increased support for the DA that they want service delivery. The DA will continue to fight for service delivery for all the people in this province.