A proposal by the Democratic Alliance (DA) has led to the tabling of a resolution which will force KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Government Departments to submit their basic cash flow projections on expenditure and vacant posts to their relevant committees on a monthly basis.
The resolution was adopted by the KZN Finance portfolio committee during the recent unaudited close-out reports for the province. The move comes after a R19 million underspend on conditional grants by the provincial government – money which must now be returned to National Government and which is lost to the province.
The DA condemns this under-expenditure in the strongest possible terms. This resolution is a last-ditch attempt to avoid this pitfall.
Under expenditure impacts heavily on KZN’s strategic goals and objectives, while the trend by this provincial government of underspending to survive the outer years is an increasingly dangerous trap.
Of particular concern to the DA in the Adjustments Budget is the non-existence of any additional funding to the Department of Health (DoH), in particular the compensation of employees (COE). This while the Department is currently sitting with just under 1 000 vacant posts. While the DA acknowledges and appreciates the additional funding via the Division of Revenue Amendment (DORA), the reality is that this money will not address the major challenges that await this Department.
The additional revenue also does not address the challenge of outer years of COE. Nor does it address the proposed base line reductions in COE of 5,6 and 7% in the MTEF. This will no doubt equate to an additional R8 billion burden in the MTEF. This figure excludes the return of the Cuban Doctors- and the fact that they will also need to be placed within the Department.
The adjustment has also allocated an additional R100 million for a water and electricity backlog study. This amount on face value, simply to do a study, appears exorbitant and the DA will be calling on Finance MEC Ravi Pillay to provide a detailed breakdown of the proposed budget.
When one considers the recurring financial transgressions, the question remains – are Members of the ANC-led executive and committee chairpersons ensuring that financial information is supplied? Or is the Finance committee just recording resolutions for the sake of compliance?
As KZN’s real opposition, the DA will continue to conduct its oversight role – not just on provincial government Departments – but also on the ANC-led executive.