Budget hard pill for some to swallow

Issued by Retief Odendaal, MPL
Shadow MEC for Finance

The Eastern Cape Budget tabled by Finance MEC Mlungisi Mvoko today could not accommodate all the promises made by Premier Oscar Mabuyane during his State of the Province Address.

The Democratic Alliance welcomes the planned reduction in financial support to State Owned Entities, as well as plans to cut to cost of employment by R22,8 billion over the medium term, but notes with concern that no plans on how this will be implemented were announced.

It is extremely disturbing that the Province’s revenue continues to shrink, this year down R7,2 billion, and expected to reduce by R28,2 billion over the medium term. This means that even if cuts in COE are met, there will still be little additional funding available for infrastructure investment and service delivery.

Also worrying is that the zero-based budgeting only brought about savings of R90 million.

Despite the Premier’s assertions that drought is a priority, nothing was forthcoming from the MEC relating to drought relief measures. No farmer, emerging or established, can farm without water.

The DA welcomes the steps mentioned by MEC Mvoko on addressing the issues leading to burgeoning medico-legal claims in the Department of Health, but he provided very little in terms of what is being done to address the existing claims, currently sitting close to R37 billion.

The fact that funds have had to be redirected from several departments to bail out the Department of Health, and that even with the additional funding suppliers are still going unpaid, speaks volumes.

Overall, a painful budget that will sober up all politicians and civil servants alike.