We have the highest expanded rate of unemployment at 42,5% signifying the lack of hope and opportunity that this province should be showcasing.
There is an urgent need for a turnaround strategy. I did not see anything in the second Adjustment Bill that is any radical departure from present government policy. Unless we have bold, radical and innovative action, we are not going to create the right climate for jobs and economic growth in this province.
The MEC in his speech highlighted the cost of COE and said that there is going to be an investigation. It keeps going up each year. This year COE is going to be 80% of our equitable share, which is an increase to the previous year.
I would have expected the MEC to make some bold announcement about what is going to be done to deal with the situation.
In this very adjustment of R1,45 billion, there is an additional R155 million to supplement our growing wage bill.
Few years ago Treasury did put some ideas on the table to reduce our wage bill
- There is the issue of the double parked teachers that cost the province well over a billion a year.
- There is also the issue of offering non-core staff over 60 retirement packages.
- Above market rentals which the province pays excessive amounts for.
- Cost of infrastructure way above the norms of other provinces.
When it comes to roll overs, it is disturbing that the under expenditure of the departments in Education amounted to R181 million of only which R71 million has been approved by national treasury as a roll over.
In the annual report of Provincial Treasury, there was mention that there needs to be clarity between the role of Provincial Treasury as well as Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs. Now in the Adjustment Budget we see that the Office of the Premier is to be involved with the electrification in a number of municipalities. This in my opinion further muddies the water. I see also that the Office to the Premier is providing an additional R15 million to Magwa Tea Plantation. Why not redirect the money towards Agriculture? In line with the business recue assessment.
Nobody wants anyone to go hungry but there needs to be a point where we stop pouring money, and we reach a point where we make a final decision into whether or not this Tea Plantation is viable or not, otherwise these various plantations are going to become to our Provincial Treasury what the SAA is fast becoming to the National Fiscus.
We welcome the additional R100 million for the Human Settlements Development Grant that will be facilitated through the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality as well as the 18,330 million for NSFAS funding.
The goal of any budget is to set a clear path and direction that is conducive to getting economic growth. The continued high levels of unemployment in the Eastern Cape offer a bleak future for matriculants and university students that are looking for jobs. The official rate of unemployment has increased in the Eastern Cape in the second quarter from 29,1% to 29,2% in the third quarter according to the latest labour force report of Stats SA.