The third quarter provincial expenditure report released by the National Treasury this week once again indicates that the province will underspend on capital and overspend on personnel. This alarming trend continues from the previous year and the province has failed to reverse it. The overall capital expenditure for the province stands at 46.1% or R1.9 billion out of R4.137 billion.

Education has only spent 30.1 % of its capital budget and is the lowest in the country with the provincial average being 62.6% for other provinces. This means only R417 million has been spent out of R1.38 billion.

With regards to Health, only 49.3% of the capital budget has been spent or R623 million out of R1.265 billion.

Housing expenditure is slightly better, at 58.9% although it is under the provincial average for all provinces of 66.8%.

It is clear that Education and Health are going to overspend when it comes to personnel. Education’s problems are compounded by the failure of the province to deal speedily with the 5 200 additional teachers which are costing over R1 billion per annum.

This tragic picture of our province’s finances once again highlights weak leadership when it comes to ensuring capital expenditure and a lack of courage to deal with the tough issues. The under expenditure, particularly in education, hits poor people the hardest and minimises their opportunity to access a decent education environment. A decent education and health care are two pillars of opportunity that underpin access to jobs in our province.

It has become clear that the ANC lacks to political will to govern effectively. The only way the poor of this province can bring about a change in their circumstances is by sending a strong message at the next election that they want change.