While officials live it up raking in huge sums in overtime and travel, the people are taking to the streets to protest against the lack of service delivery.
Three officials, each claiming more than R1 million per annum in overtime, and another claiming more than R50 000 for Substance and Travel per month, are just some of the examples of the shocking rate at which money is being wasted by the Eastern Cape Provincial government.
The provincial government has to get its priorities right. We cannot have officials burning through cash at this rate while our province is on fire.
The country is running out money. The province is facing massive financial squeeze and we cannot waste a single cent on non-core business.
In spite of making promises about putting austerity measures in place, the government has found it impossible to save money by reigning in the spending of departments.
And while this free spending is on the increase, the provincial treasury, which should be ensuring that departments save money, had its budget cut by 3,6% to only R441 million.
The biggest culprits regarding overtime claims are officials of the department of health. In the 2018/19 financial year, 39 department officials claimed more than R28,5 million in overtime, with three officials claiming more than R1 million each in overtime.
The misuse of Substance and Travel (S&T) grants in the 2018/19 financial year is also a big indicator of provincial government’s inability to cut costs.
More than R844 million was spent on this line item, with an official from the Department of Health claiming an average of almost R55 000 per month. The government could have easily saved R100 million on S&T and spent this money on service delivery.
The fact that R107,7 million was spent on catering in 2018/19 also boggles the mind and, with austerity measures in place, the province could have saved R50 million in this regard.
The government’s communications department overspent its budget by R244 million rand, but with the right measures in place, it could have cut R150 million from this budget.
Where the DA governs we know how to cut costs and save money.
While a DA-led coalition was in government in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, we identified savings to tune of R200 million after just three weeks at the helm of the City.
Only a DA government can govern effectively, fight corruption and save the Eastern Cape from financial ruin.
Retief Odendaal MPL
DA Shadow MEC for Finance
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