ANC in the Western Cape slams DA over budget cuts in 2021/22 allocation
Cape Town - The provincial ANC has slammed the Western Cape treasury for failing to protect the front-line services from budget cuts in the 2021/2022 annual budget allocation.
The ANC's provincial spokesperson on Social Development Bakubaku Vos said this year’s 1.09% decrease (from R2.692 billion in the 2020/21 revised estimate to R2.663 billion in 2021/22) in the budget of the Department of Social Development will affect the department’s ability to address challenges including humanitarian relief in previously disadvantaged communities faced with high unemployment, rising levels of food insecurity and increasing cases of GBV and femicide.
She said more concerning was the decrease of the equitable share for the department and the budget for victim empowerment programme which deals with issues of GBV in the department increased by only 0.79%.
“Reality is that the provincial government is not treating the crisis of GBV and femicide with the seriousness and urgency it deserves, that is the reason it allocates such small amounts for GBV related programmes.
“It is through the national government intervention that the Western Cape received six additional shelters for victims of GBV. The provincial government has been slagging on refurbishments and handover of these shelters, thus the first one will only be opened before the end of March, after waiting for nearly a year due to provincial government delays,” said Vos.
DA provincial spokesperson on Social Development Gillion Bosman said the ANC spoke in an attempt to deflect from the humanitarian crises that resulted from the Sassa backlog in grants.
“In terms of the GBV shelters, what the ANC is leaving out is that when the provincial government fulfilled its side of the contract, it was the national Department of Public Works and Infrastructure that delayed the opening of the shelters as it was that department’s responsibility to finalise refurbishments,” said Bosman.
Social Development MEC Sharna Fernandez said if the provincial treasury did not find additional funding from savings and reserves, the reduction could have reached 18%.
“The provincial treasury took all measures possible to prevent further budget cuts due to the rapid contraction of national finances and resulting cuts to provinces. It should be further noted that during 2020/21 the department received once-off direct funding amounts of R53m from the national treasury for ECD support, and R51m for food relief.
“For the new financial year the department did not receive these amounts again from the national treasury, which meant that we have R104m less this year than last year,” she said.
Fernandez said despite the financial constraints, the department will work relentlessly to fight the scourge of gender-based violence in the province.