At a time when the economy is in a technical recession, government spending should be geared towards service delivery and job creation. However, a review of the Eastern Cape Government Departments annual reports for the 2017/18 financial year shows that at least R1,4 billion is being spent on non-core business such as catering, consultants, transport and accommodation.
On many occasions the province has committed itself to belt tightening exercises and cutting back on non-core expenditure.
However instead of implementing belt tightening measures, an analysis of the various annual reports, tabled recently in the legislature, shows that the province spent over R101,5 million on catering in the 2017/18 financial year, up over R20 million from 2016/17 (R80,2 million). The bulk of this, namely R63,28 million, was spent by Education, up from R40,3 million the previous financial year.
Stop eating the money, and start delivering better services to the people!
This province cannot afford to spend this amount of money on catering. Besides making a mockery of any belt tightening, the Education Department should be prioritising books, libraries, computer labs and the rolling out of e-learning and getting rid of pit latrines and mud schools.
Spending on consultants has also increased by over R23,6 million year-on-year, up from R541,3 to R564,9 million, while travel and accommodation rose dramatically from R720 million to R792 million.
Clearly lip service is being paid to belt tightening in the province.
A Democratic Alliance-led government would ensure that this kind of unnecessary largess would be cut down on, and that public money would be spent more efficiently and effectively.
Given the fiscal space that South Africa and this province is operating in, we need to be spending our money on core business, and clearly this is not happening.
The focus of provincial government spending should be that money meant for the people will be spent on the people.