Bigger budgets promised

2012-08-03 00:00

FIVE KwaZulu-Natal departments overspent on their 2011/12 budgets. They were Education, Health, Transport, the Royal Household and Arts and Culture.

Education overspent by R591,293 million and Health by R130,181 million.

Chairperson of the Finance Committee, Belinda Scott, said the pressures on Education and Health will always remain a key concern and there are key areas within the departments that could do with additional funding.

She said this was why they were not overly critical and had asked that a task team from treasury to look at the overspending to see what were the pressures and what could be done about them.

Scott thanked the departments for their overall fiscal restraint, which she said assisted the province in its financial recovery plan.

However, she warned that some departments were getting slack. “We are seeing more instances of departments going to hotels to hold meetings and conferences,” she said. She also warned departments just working towards clean audits and financial compliance was not enough. She said the province was moving towards better performance and improving service delivery. Citing efficient clinics and schools that achieved despite challenges, Scott said service delivery was not just about budget but about performance.

IFP shadow minister for finance, Roman Liptak, said over expenditure in education could have be avoided with better planning to anticipate appointment of additional teaching staff based on the enrolment numbers in schools.

Liptak praised the Infrastructure Crack Team and the Provinces Integrity Unit for “notable improvements in the delivery of infrastructural projects and less underspending in departments”. He said the Integrity Unit was making clear strides in investigating corruption in the provincial government.

Johann Krog, DA spokesperson on finance, said the Education Department needed to budget for infrastructure maintenance.

Jo-Ann Downs said education was very underfunded, which would always put pupils at a disadvantage. — Witness Reporter.

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