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KZN depts told to spend less

2009-06-22 19:02

Pietermaritzburg - KwaZulu-Natal departments have been told to cut down on unnecessary expenditure such as expensive accommodation and food and adverts in the media.

Presenting the R60.4bn KwaZulu-Natal budget on Monday, finance MEC Ina Cronje said there would be a spending reduction of 7.5% of goods and services in all departments.

"We are doing this because there has been a two-year cumulative deficit of more than R3bn as a result of the 2007/2008 and 2008/2009 provincial over expenditure," she said.

The main culprits responsible for the over expenditure were the departments of health and the royal household department which maintains Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini and his six palaces.

Less money for ads

Cronje said exercising fiscal prudence and eliminating unnecessary expenditure would help the province to save money.

She said there would be a reduction in money spent on communication and advertisements, venue hiring and catering.

Opposition parties have in the past complained that the government was wasting taxpayers' money by splashing out on adverts with their faces in newspapers and by advertising in broadcast media.

The departments have also been asked to freeze non-essential posts and reduce the use of quotations in procuring goods and services.

Inflating prices

She said it had come to their attention that service providers were inflating prices, saying that departments would be encouraged to advertise tenders competitively.

Cronje stressed that essential services would not be affected by the 7.5% reduction of expenditure.

"Reductions should not be made at the expense of core service delivery," she said.

The province would make sure that health services were not affected and that investment in infrastructure was not affected.

"We have tried not to reduce spending on infrastructure projects because we believe that it creates jobs and investments," said Cronje.

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