The first quarter National Treasury expenditure figures for the Eastern Cape once again highlight the alarming trend of low capital expenditure in the key Departments of Education (7.7%), Health (11.3%) and Human Settlements (17.7%).
Under development, inequality and poverty are directly related to the lack of capital expenditure in the social cluster.
The only way to stop the rot is for the MEC for Finance and Provincial Expenditure, Phumulo Masualle, to table a quarterly statement on the state of the province’s finance upon which findings and recommendations are made by the finance portfolio committee for debate in the house. When he and the officials of the affected departments have to face quarterly scrutiny by the Legislature, they will be forced to jack themselves up or face the music.
The historical slow pace and under expenditure on capital works are detrimental to a sound education and health system in this province.
These figures are the worst in the country.
There is a crying need to improve our school and health infrastructure. Under expenditure cannot be tolerated. Provincial Treasury must ensure that capital expenditure is speeded up and that officials, who cannot do their job, be disciplined.
Millions of learners in this province are suffering at the hands of a dysfunctional educational system and deserve a decent learning environment.
For the first quarter of the 2012/2013 financial year (April – June) Education only spent R74 million out of a total of R960 million of capital expenditure, being 7.7%.
The Health Department was slightly better spending R104 million out of R925 million of capital expenditure, being 11.3%.
Human Settlements only spent R242 million out of R2 292 billion, being 17.7%.
In the 2010/2011 financial year Education only spent 43.9% of its capital budget and in the 2011/12 year 63.9%.
In the 2011/2012 year the Health Department under spent by R193 million spending only 84.8% of its budget.
Bobby Stevenson, MPL