Despite massive unemployment in the Eastern Cape, the provincial government is underspending on the infrastructural budget. It is common cause that infrastructural spending results in job creation.

According to the six monthly treasury figures for the province, it has under spent against budget by R 1 billion on conditional grants and R 549 million on capital expenditure.

Will the pot holes in the Eastern Cape ever be fixed?

The consequence of this is the long term deterioration of the infrastructure. The Department of Health, as an example, now faces a R 1,9 billion maintenance backlog.

“On the other hand, the province has overspent on personnel for the first six month by R 889 million. Personnel costs are now running at 80% of the overall provincial budget if one takes the conditional grant component out. This dangerous trend means more and more is spent on personnel and less and less on service delivery”, said Bobby Stevenson from the Democratic Alliance.

“What is truly alarming is that even though we spend more money on personnel, we continue to under spend on capital. People are paid to spend the capital budget but they are failing to do so. The reason why this continues to happen is that there are no consequences for non-performance”, added Stevenson.

The main culprits when it comes to over expenditure on cost of employees are Health (R 388 million) and Education (R 597 million).

What we as residents of this Province cannot afford is the continual smoke and mirrors accounting where under expenditure on capital infrastructure is offset by over expenditure on personnel. The books may balance but in the long term our infrastructure implodes.

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