ANC Eastern Cape welcomes passing of Expropriation Bill and provincial budgets

JUNE 7, 2016

The African National Congress (ANC) Caucus in the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature on Tuesday applauded the passing of the Eastern Cape's Expropriation Bill as well the Budget Votes of provincial departments.

"Passing of the Exppropriation Bill places in earnest the Provincial Administration in a position to fulfil the 2016/17 mandate from the people of Eastern Cape as contained in the 2014 ANC Manifesto," said ANC Chief Whip in the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature, Mzoleli Mrara.

He also said that, because of the subdued economic climate, stricter financial prudence is required in spending the provincial budgets.

"However, even in such conditions, the Expropriation Bill remain true to the electorate mandate."

Mrara said that the ANC Caucus is confident that the departments’ plans will continue to cushion the poor and vulnerable, work towards stimulating positive growth of the economy, and improve the living conditions of the people of the Eastern Cape.

"The ANC Caucus is pleased to see an increase in Education and Health budgets, as these are apex priorities. To this end the Department of Education’s 2016/17 budget allocation sees an increment from R29 billion to R31billion. The ANC supports the allocation of R24 billion (5% increase) to Public ordinary schools. This is in line with realising the ANC Priority of free education through a no fee school policy benefiting 1.5 million learners and equally 1.7 million learners on school nutrition programme on a daily basis," he described.

"On a second priority, which is Health the ANC finds comfort that the budget allocation has increased by 7% to R20 Billion in 2016/17 and the focus is on core business. Rolling out of the NHI remains a strategic priority of the ANC."

He said concerning Agriculture and Rural Development, the ANC applauds the efforts and investment made by government on cushioning farmers of all scales against drought season.

"In making agriculture our priority, the overall budget increase of 12,1% with the biggest allocation going to farmer support and development is step in most positive direction," said Mrara.

"On the fight against crime, the Department of Safety and Liaison’s Provincial Safety Strategy as well as Anti-Gang framework was most welcomed as it shows commitment of ANC government in ensuring safer communities. This happens as the province has witnessed sporadic acts of gangesterism, which were duly condemned by the House on strength of motion moved by the ANC.

"The ANC strongly emphasises radical economic transformation. We have full confidence that the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism plans are sound in collaborating with stakeholders, social partners and municipalities on improving efforts towards creating decent sustainable jobs and growing our economy to benefit the people of the Eastern Cape."

Mrara said that the province is on course with plans to diversify its economy and invest in productive sectors of the economy.

"This can be seen through massive investments in our two provincial Industrial Development Zones in East London and Coega, coupled with the revival of industrial sites and establishment of rural enterprise and development hubs. Industrial hubs will go a long way in unlocking the economic potential of the province," he described.

"The ANC is fully aware that if this economic infrastructure and logistics network is to be realized, energy provisions are critical. In this regard, the Department announced that once all the wind farms are in operation in 2019, the province will produce almost 60% of this electrical power need from renewable energy sources. 

"The ANC fully appreciates the competing necessary interests against the constrained Provincial budget. However, the Appropriation Bills as presented demonstrate that the ANC-led Government is at work and its priorities are in order despite the unfavourable economic climate. The ANC Caucus supports the measures put in place in ensuring that money is spent for what it was intended for and if not, consequent management cannot be optional."