The R1, 683 billion Adjustments Appropriation Bill tabled in the Eastern Cape provincial legislature today (subs: 23 November) has an amount of R27,5 million for transfers to all political parties for the political party fund, constituency- and caucus funds. This Christmas bonus has come as a result of under expenditure in the legislature for the 2010/11 financial year. This money is now being rolled over.

There is no doubt that this unexpected additional allocation is because of the ANC centenary celebration. They will get the lion’s share of the money and the bulk of this adjustment is nothing more than creative accounting to fund their celebrations through the party-political fund which is the mechanism by which the legislature legally distributes funds to political parties.

The province has its priorities wrong. We need to be fixing our schools, fixing our hospitals and roads before we allocate additional funds to political parties who have already received an annual allocation.

The DA believes that this amount should be surrendered to the Provincial Revenue Fund where it can be used for pressing service delivery problems in the province. The DA will oppose this aspect of the Adjustments Appropriation Bill.

The bulk of the R1, 683 billion consists of rollovers of unspent conditional grant money which once more highlights the poor capacity to spend in this province. The Eastern Cape is currently underspending by R1 billion on conditional grants and R500 million on capital. We welcome the additional new allocation of national and provincial funds of R809 million, the bulk of which go the Health and Education.

What this province needs is the tough leadership that will ensure that the money we have is in the first place spent and in the second place spent on the right priorities.