The first quarter expenditure figures for the financial year (1 April 2014-30 June 2014) that were released by national treasury yesterday are a wake-up call for the Eastern Cape, particularly when it comes to capital expenditure. Expenditure on personnel is largely on track but capital expenditure (infrastructure) is lagging way behind.
Our bloated bureaucracy is simply not giving us value for money. The slow pace of capital expenditure is not reducing infrastructural backlogs at the rate that it should.
The education department has only spent 13% of its capital budget (R147, 947 million). This is 28.9% less than the R208, 223 million spent at the same time last year. This figure of 13% is well below the combined national average of 19.6%.
There needs to be a much greater sense of urgency when it comes to infrastructure improvements in our schools. A total of 20% of schools in the Eastern Cape do not have electricity and 18% do not have water, let alone science labs, libraries, desks and chairs.
When it comes to healthcare expenditure, capital expenditure of 9.7% is the lowest in the country and again well below the national average of 18.8%.
Overall capital expenditure for the province, which includes all departments, is running at 11.3% which is well below the national average of 19.7%.
On the positive side, when it comes to provincial own revenue collection, the Eastern Cape was the second highest province, after the Western Cape, with a collection rate of 28.7% which is above the national average. Capital expenditure on housing is running at 20.8% which is above the national average of 17.2%.
The DA reiterates its view that the quarterly expenditure reports need to come before the portfolio committee of finance and be debated in the legislature so that those responsible for poor performance can be held accountable.