The Eastern Cape government is on track to being nothing more than an employment agency unless drastic action is taken to turn the situation around. The Eastern Cape is spending too much on clerks and administrators and too little on core staff such as doctors, nurses and teachers. The problem is not just how much we spend on personnel but the type of personnel.
An accepted norm for the distribution on salaries is 60% for core staff and 40% for support staff. In this province the ratio is the wrong way around. We spend a whopping 70% on support staff and only 30% on core staff. This means instead of spending funds on doctors, nurses and teachers, we have too many clerks and administrators.
The problem is also compounded by the high proportion of the provincial budget that is spent on personnel. As a percentage of equitable share, the Eastern Cape’s budget for personnel will rise over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF period – the next three years) from 76.7% to 78%. Similarly, as a percentage of the whole budget – when we include conditional grants – it rises from 64.9% to 66.7%. This means that when it comes to equitable share we only have a discretionary budget of 22%.
The R59,257 billion provincial budget for 2013/14 is totally skewed in favour of consumption which compromises the efficiency of service delivery. This is a key problem in the Eastern Cape: we don’t have core staff to actually deliver the goods and not enough funds for infrastructure such as our crumbling roads network.
This is a result of years of jobs-for-pals-appointments and cadre deployment. This is a ticking time bomb which is the root cause of the slow pace of service delivery in the Eastern Cape.
The DA believes that the organograms of all departments must be reviewed to ensure that expenditure is directed towards core staff and not support staff. The ANC needs to tackle this political hot potato with a sense of urgency if we are to turn this province around.
The function of a budget is to assist in creating an environment that is conducive to creating jobs, reducing poverty and improving service delivery.
A DA-led provincial government would ensure we change course away from jobs-for- pals-budgets to budgets that are more conducive to creating economic growth.
Bobby Stevenson, MPL