DA cannot support EC budget that fails to address health, drought

Issued by Retief Odendaal, MPL
Shadow MEC for Finance

The Democratic Alliance cannot support a budget that does not take steps to address the challenges within the collapsing Health Department, or make provision to address the ongoing debilitating drought in the province.

The Department of Health has already blown through 16% of its new budget, spending R4,3 billion on paying suppliers for services delivered in the previous financial year.

The growing accruals, alongside the ever-escalating medico-legal claims, up R6 billion year-on-year to R36-billion, means the Department of Health has the ability to capsize the entire provincial government!

It is criminal that the ANC-led provincial government expects service providers to the Health Department to go months without payment, simply because they stubbornly refuse to deal with the financial issues that plague it.

Further, no consideration has been given to allocate additional funding to address the devastating drought that has the province firmly in its grip. No funds have been made available through the Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform to assist farmers.

Knowing full well that South Africa is fast running out of money to spend, very little has been done on cost containment and cutting of non-core expenditure.

It would seem the Eastern Cape Provincial Government is in denial insofar as its fiscal realities are concerned. There is no increase in capital infrastructure spend, as promised by the Premier. How are we going to get our economy moving again if we don’t accelerate public investment in infrastructure?