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High expectation as Oscar Mabuyane tables his maiden Eastern Cape Budget Speech

Mar 5, 2019
High expectation as Oscar Mabuyane tables his maiden Eastern Cape Budget Speech

The Eastern Cape Budget Speech comes as the curtain closes on the fifth administration that was led by Eastern Cape Premier, Phumulo Masualle, ahead of the 2019 National and Provincial Elections in May.

All eyes on Tuesday will be on Eastern Cape MEC for Finance, Lubabalo Mabuyane, on Tuesday as he delivers his maiden Eastern Cape Budget Speech for 2019 in the Bhisho Legislature.

The Eastern Cape Budget Speech comes as the curtain closes on the fifth administration that was led by Eastern Cape Premier, Phumulo Masualle, ahead of the 2019 National and Provincial Elections in May.

Mabuyane, as the current African National Congress (ANC) Chairperson in the Eastern Cape, is tipped to become the next Premier.

Mabuyane is expected to detail how the provincial government plans to boost the Eastern Cape economy and how it will share the purse among Departments such as education, health and human settlements.

The province remains one of the poorest in the country - with a high unemployment rate, and Mabuyane is expected to touch on that.

A devastating drought continues to affect the ability of local farmers to plant their fields while residents in towns like Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown) face dire water shortages.

The willingness to fight against corruption and wasteful expenditure -  especially among civil servants, will also be an area of interest.

SACP 2019 Eastern Cape Budget Speech expectations

At it's ordinary plenary session of the 8thCongress Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) over the weekend, the South African Communist Party (SACP) in the Eastern Cape said that it expects a people-centred budget from Mabuyane.

"We are of the view that the moment requires the people’s budget, which will priorities sustainable economic development, decent work, a comprehensive social security, job creation, increased financial support for working class students amongst other things," described SACP Eastern Cape spokesperson, Siyabonga Mdodi.

"The Eastern Cape economy requires diversified economy as one of the cornerstones of our economic development trajectory. It is therefore important that the budget support primary agriculture and agro-processing as a critical game changer in the province.

"We expect deliberate investment measures in the agricultural sector to stimulate agro-processing, ocean economy, and rural development including access to clean water for all communities in the province."

He said that the Eastern Cape budget should also priorities improving the conditions in the Public Healthcare system as part of building capacity for the rollout of the National Health Insurance and ensuring quality service to the people.

"There should be deliberate interventions on the Education to build on the improvement that has been registered in the previous year. It is important that we put basis for excellence by ensuring that the schools in the Quintiles 1 – 3 are equipped for qualitative learning," Mdodi said.

"The Eastern Cape Province has a challenge of the roads infrastructure, which leads to many lives being lost in the Eastern Cape roads. It is in this context that we hold a firm view that the should be more investment in the road infrastructure network which will also work towards efforts to build an affordable quality integrated public transport system.

"We further call for the revitalisation of the railway lines to minimise the load on the roads and to reinvigorate the development of the small towns in the province."

Democratic Alliance 2019 Eastern Cape Budget Speech expectations

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape said that it expects Mabuyane to introduce a provincial budget for the 2019/20 financial year, in the region of between R82 and R83 billion.

"MEC Mabuyane must clearly outline how a shift is going to take place; from consumption expenditure to investment in infrastructure and economic growth. This is a key task, given that unemployment is sitting at 46% in the Eastern Cape," said Bobby Stevenson (MPL), DA Shadow MEC for Finance.

"We expect him to put clear proposals on the table, detailing how the provincial wage bill is not only going to be contained, but also reduced.

"Linked to that, we also expect him to deal decisively, once and for all, with the high cost of public entities, where 1,939 people collectively earn R939 million, of which R31 million alone, goes to 10 CEO’s."

Stevenson  said that the MEC must prioritize infrastructure, repairs and maintenance to drive economic growth.

"With the signing of the Public Audit Act into law by President Ramaphosa the MEC must indicate how he will enforce the Act so that those that abuse public resources will be held personally liable."

He said Mabuyane also needs to spell out measures on:

  • how belt tightening in this province will be implemented, as R1.4 billion is still being spent on non-core expenditure;
  • how the finances of failing municipalities are going to brought under control;
  • how red tape will be cut, so that investment can increase;
  • payments to businesses within 30 days;
  • the high cost of irregular expenditure; and
  • how to eradicate corruption.

"Unless there is decisive leadership in this province, we will continue on the downward spiral of outwards migration and a subsequent loss of equitable share," Stevenson said.

"There therefore needs to be a clear focus on investment expenditure, and the cutting back of consumption expenditure.

"It is only in this way that we will put our province on a new growth path where we can create a job in every home and build one prosperous province for all our people."

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