KZN gets tough on budget

2009-06-26 00:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal Legislature’s Finance portfolio committee has begun to crack the whip, insisting yesterday that departments start trimming wasteful spending and abstain from over-expenditure.

Among the departments singled out is the Royal Household, which was presenting its R42 million budget proposal to the committee.

The committee insisted that the department’s budget should be revised to incorporate the 7,5% cut set as a target by the provincial government.

Committee chairwoman Belinda Scott said there is no provision for over-expenditure in the current financial year, and given the history of over-expenditure in the Royal Household, the committee is not convinced that the department will not overspend.

Scott said she is sceptical that the department will achieve the required cut.

Scott also questioned how the Royal Household will repay Treasury the R8,1 million it overspent in the previous financial year.

The department cannot be treated differently from other departments, said Scott.

“We want to start the term on a new footing.

“We can’t go through what we went through with the Royal Household department last year. The department was an embarrassment to the province and to the king [Goodwill Zwelithini],” she added.

The budget proposal, said Scott, should outline how much the monarch and the queens are supposed to spend.

A member of the provincial legislature, Mike Tarr, said the budget proposal is “not really believable”.

The office of the premier was tasked to monitor the expenditure of the Royal Household until it presents an updated budget with the 7,5% cut.

Acting KZN director-general Roger Govender said a the newly appointed chief financial officer for the Royal Household, stationed in Nongoma, would liaise with him and he would liaise with Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize on the department’s spending. He said substantial progress has been made to adjust the budget estimates for the department.

The premier’s office assured the committee that a progress report on the budget would be presented when the legislature comes back from its recess starting next month.

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