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Somyo to walk 'tightrope between civil servant wage bill and service delivery'

Mar 6, 2018
Somyo to walk 'tightrope between civil servant wage bill and service delivery'

The Eastern Cape MEC for Finance, Sakhumzi Somyo, will have to walk a tightrope between the increasing wage bill for civil servants and service delivery when he delivers his 2018 Provincial Budget Speech.

Somyo will be tabling the 2018/2019 provincial budget in the Bhisho Legislature on Wednesday. 

According to Jane Cowley (MPL), the Democratic Alliance's (DA) Eastern Cape Member of the Portfolio Committee on Finance, this is particularly so in light of reduced conditional grants from the national government and an overall provincial budget that has increased by a mere 4.9% when our equitable share is added to conditional grants.

"Unless the wage bill is contained within the same parameters, far less will be available for service delivery," she said. 

"Two provincial departments that will feel the effects of a frugal national budget are education and housing. The Education Infrastructure Grant has been reduced by 5.69%, which will impact heavily on the already slow delivery of schools, hostels and ablution facilities in our province, despite the national  Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI).

"This will drag out the effective delivery of quality education across our province for even longer."

Cowley said that the Human Settlements Grant has been reduced by 14.78%, which will also impact very negatively on the need for housing for all our Eastern Cape citizens.

"A house is an opportunity that puts one on the ladder of economic freedom," she described.

"What the Eastern Cape needs is not more of the same but a total change when it comes to prioritising the budget."