EC finance MEC Oscar Mabuyane calls for end to unjust equitable share budget system

2019-03-05 20:16
Oscar Mabuyane (Ziyanda Zweni)

Oscar Mabuyane (Ziyanda Zweni)

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Eastern Cape finance MEC Oscar Mabuyane called for Finance Minister Tito Mboweni to review government's "unjust" equitable share formula during his budget speech on Tuesday.

Mabuyane, who was addressing the Eastern Cape legislature, said the equitable share formula condemned rural provinces, "especially the previously disadvantaged", to sustained underdevelopment. 

The equitable share is an unconditional grant which enables municipalities with limited resources to afford basic administrative and governance capacity and perform core municipal functions.

As a result of this formula, Mabuyane reported that the Eastern Cape managed to survive with a budget shortfall of R19.8bn. 

"We are insisting that the policy should take into account the developmental needs of rural provinces and poverty component as other possible measures for equitable share allocation. Our secret has really been our ability to maintain fiscal discipline, thus we have been able to invest R9.2bn from our own reserves to ease the impact of the budget shortfall during this 5th term of government," he said. 

In an effort to grow the Eastern Cape economy, Mabuyane reprioritised 0.5% from all departments to set up a provincial stimulus package of R1.1bn over the mid-term expenditure framework. 

Education to get chunk of budget

"Our fiscal outlook is unpredictable, and our equitable share is diminishing in real terms. We must supplement it with a concrete economic growth plan."

Mabuyane announced a large chunk of the Eastern Cape's R82.1bn budget would be geared towards education. 

A total of R36.3bn has been allocated towards education, with R114.4bn for the mid-term expenditure framework's three-year budget, he said.

Early childhood development will be resourced with R602m with the core business of teaching allocated R26bn. 

"There is an additional R1.3bn indirect grant in 2019/20 from national government to eradicate infrastructure backlogs, such as mud schools, water and sanitation. This is in line with the sanitation appropriate for education [programme] that was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa, to ensure the safety of teachers and learners through the eradication of pit latrines."

Last year, former education MEC Mandla Makupula announced that 426 mud schools still existed in the province, 367 were identified for the national Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative, while 69 were allocated to the province to be dealt with through a conditional grant.

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