Education Dept has reduced overspending

2013-02-11 00:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal Education Department will overspend its R35 billion budget by R46 million when the financial year ends next month.

The projected overspending was reduced drastically from the R1,7 billion estimated last year, according to department head Nkosinathi Sishi.

“That is fiscal discipline of a department at its best,” an elated Sishi told parliamentarians in the education portfolio committee on Friday.

He, however, said the massive reduction in the projected expenditure was at the expense of schools and the education system in the province. “When we have to cut the expenses to make our books look good, it is painful,” Sishi said.

Earlier chief finance officer Hlengiwe Mcuma said the department has been instructed to make payments for the occupational specific dispensation (OSD) to therapists.

“This is going to bring huge pressure on the department,” Mcuma said, adding that the OSD payments in KZN were estimated at R40 million.

Sishi said the unnamed number of therapists would not be paid before the end of the financial year in March because that would increase overexpenditure to nearly R90 million.

“The issue of therapists will have to be considered next year …”

Committee chairperson Linda Hlongwa heaped praises on the department for drastically reducing the R1,7 billion over-expenditure projected last year.

“We must commend you as the department for having done that. If we had our way you should be allowed to spend,” she said, adding that spending of the budget should be geared towards making an impact on delivery of services.

Meanwhile, the department reported that it has spent 75% of its R35,4 billion budget as at the end of December. It said its capital expenditure as at December stood at 91%.

A departmental report revealed that capital expenditure was under pressure and should be closely monitored so that it does not contribute to overexpenditure as unprocessed invoices amounted to R139,4 million, leaving a balance of R55,2 million to be spent until the end of March 2013.

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