MEC passes buck

2013-03-14 00:00

KWZULU-NATAL Finance MEC Ina Cronjé yesterday ducked a question about why the provincial Treasury had not make a budget allocation for pay increases for Grade R teachers.

“Why did Treasury not consider that [salary increase for Grade R teachers]? … it seems to be a hot potato … Why was it not factored in whatever way?” finance portfolio committee member and Scopa chairperson Sipho Nkosi asked at a budget hearing yesterday.

In her response, Cronjé said the Education Department was better positioned to answer that question.

“That needs to be answered by the department. We don’t get involved to that extent,” she said.

On Tuesday, Grade R teachers protested outside the KZN Legislature in Pietermaritzburg when Cronjé delivered her budget speech.

It was not the first time the Grade R teachers had demanded salary increases. Earlier this year they marched to hand a petition to the department.

Cronjé’s speech made no mention of an increase for the Grade R teachers except for R170 million allocation for the appointment of Grade R teachers.

The amount will be made available by national government only in the 2015/16 financial year.

It also emerged yesterday that provincial departments will have to race against time to review their organograms.

Cronjé said departments had until the end of this month to review their organograms and submit them to the provincial Treasury for scrutiny.

“There is urgency on the matter,” she said.

Asked about the role of Treasury in the review of departments’ organograms, head of department Simiso Magagula said: “We make inputs before departments send the reviewed organogram to the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) for approval.”

He said the DPSA always contacted Treasury before approval was granted for a reviewed organogram, even if departments approached DPSA directly.

The review of organograms is one of the austerity measures the provincial government has adopted to mitigate cuts in the decreased budget for 2013/14.

Cronjé was confident that if everyone stuck to the austerity measures there would not be a “train smash” in the province’s finances.

“We can manage what we have got,” she said.

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