Budget expectations: Over 11.6 billion wasted annually in the Eastern Cape

The Eastern Cape MEC for Finance and Provincial Planning, Sakhumzi Somyo, will be tabling the provincial budget for 2016-2017 on Friday, 4 March 2016. 

Sound clip in English:  Finance MEC must curb wasteful expenditure (English)

Sound clip in Afrikaans:  Finance MEC must curb wasteful expenditure (Afrikaans)

Finance and Provincial Planning MEC Sakhumzi Somyo must tell us how he is going to stop the rampant wastage of public finances in the Eastern Cape and give us a value for money budget that creates the right climate for economic growth and job creation.

What we don’t need is a simplistic belt tightening and cost cutting exercise.  The MEC must put on the gloves, pull out the knife and cut deep to eradicate waste.

The annual cost of 32 000 civil servants on extended sick leave is a shocking R10-billion.  This is calculated by dividing the compensation of employees budget of R42. 308 billion by the 135 000 employees who work for the province.  This gives you and an average cost of R313 000 per employee.  This means a shocking 23.7 % or that one in four civil servants are currently on sick leave.

The 12 000 who have been on sick leave for more than six years, alone, would amount to R3.7 billion a year in wasteful expenditure or R22. 2-billion over six years.  This could have built 200 000 houses.   This is the scale of the sheer horror of this waste.

There has been a gross failure of management and leadership to deal with this issue.  In the Western Cape, employees wishing to be boarded are dealt with through the human resources divisions of provincial departments.  Why has the Eastern Cape failed to do the same?  Who are we protecting?

The second area of unproductive expenditure is the 5 478 additional educators in the province.  Those are educators who are occupying posts that are no longer needed.  This is an annual cost of R1. 643-billion, while there are 4 939 posts crying to be filled.  This has been going on for many years.

A third area where decisive leadership is called for is in relation to the cost of procurement.   The average cost of a kilometre of road in the Eastern Cape is R11. 678-million whereas in the Western Cape, the average cost is R2. 189-million per kilometre and in Limpopo it costs R7. 25-million.

I expect a provincial budget in the region of R58. 060-billion in equitable share, R10. 243-billion of conditional grants and R1. 5-billion of own revenue, giving a total of R69. 803-billion. — Bobby Stevenson MPL, Shadow MEC for Finance