A Provincial Treasury mid-term budget presentation to KwaZulu-Natal’s (KZN) finance portfolio committee has revealed that the province is facing projected over-expenditure of R9.7billion under the Taliban faction ANC government.
The shocking figure comes as National Treasury has only agreed to contribute R3.7billion – 78% of the province’s crippling wage agreement for compensation of government employees. This will leave KZN with a projected over-expenditure bill of more than R6billion.
Treasury have said that KZN’s government departments now need to reassess their budgets and make further cuts. Yet, it is already clear from the current over-spend that they will not be able to cut their budgets sufficiently to make up the R6billion overspend.
The reality is that any further cuts by government departments are going to affect service delivery to the people of our province.
It is also clear that KZN’s biggest problem is its ballooning wage bill. This as the Departments of Health and Education and Public Works sit with over-expenditure of R5billion, R3.4billion and half a billion respectively due to Compensation of Employees (CoE).
While Treasury has implemented cash-blocking in a bid to prevent departmental over-expenditure, the reality is that big service departments such as Health will be the first to suffer.
This is evidenced by the current claims that some DoH service providers are not being paid on time, leading to service delivery being affected. Inside information received by the DA alleges that the department is running out of essentials such as hypodermic and drip needles as service providers are not receiving payment.
During today’s hearing, the DA raised the issue of the supposed moratorium on the filling of vacancies. Both the DoE and DoH have substantially increased their staff numbers and when we queried whether Treasury had approved this, the answer was that it had been approved by KZN’s ANC cabinet.
These appointments will undoubtedly affect the budget in the outer years and are yet another indicator of the ANC’s inability to plan properly.
This mid term budget and the projected deficit facing KZN is evidence that the ANC has not heeded the DA’s call to urgently implement zero-based budgeting and to supply all departmental committees with monthly cash flow and expenditure figures to allow effective financial oversight.
Instead, the ANC continues to prioritize events such as the SAMA’s at the expense of service delivery.
2024 will afford KZN’s voters with the golden opportunity to elect a new government – one that can build a capable and effective state and which understands fiscal planning and implementation.