By Bobby Stevenson (MPL), Shadow MEC for Finance:
The Eastern Cape Adjustments Appropriation Bill for 2015/16 was tabled in the Bhisho legislature today (subs: Wednesday, 18 November 2015).
The Eastern Cape march towards a fiscal cliff continues without the MEC for Finance and Provincial Expenditure spelling out clear plans on how to deal with the escalating wage bill. MEC Sakhumzi Somyo correctly identified the provincial wage bill of 65% of the total budget as a key problem that needs to be dealt with.
Another investigation into this matter is simply not good enough. This has been promised for years by Premiers and previous MECs for finance. What is required is tough leadership. Until we get to grips with our bloated bureaucracy the resources for actual service delivery will be under constant decline. I have warned about this problem for years: last year the percentage for the civil servant wage bill was 64% of the total budget.
In the current adjustment of R1. 446-billion, R555-million is to supplement the wage bill.
We welcome the additional R200-million for electrification projects in municipalities as well as the R100-million for the human settlements development grant for Nelson Mandela Bay for housing and the R18.330-million for NSFAS-funds.
It is unusual for an adjustment bill to be tabled based on funding that will come from the national parliament, before parliament has actually approved the Division of Revenue Amendment Bill (DORA) that will officially allocate those funds. It would be unlawful to pass this Bill prior to the DORA being approved in the national assembly. I did raise the matter by point of order in the sitting of today.
The citizens of the Eastern Cape are looking for hope, fresh opportunity and the belief that things will change for the better. Unless bold leadership is exercised the province will continue on its current path.