Cape Town - Premier Alan Winde has laid the blame for the province’s budget crunch and the downward adjustments announced by Finance MEC David Maynier in his Medium Term Budget Policy Statement on Monday, squarely at the feet of the national government and the pandemic.
Speaking in the legislature during the budget vote debate for his department, Winde said the department’s 2021/22 budget had been cut by a net amount of R3.5 million, while having received a total of R33.5m through budgetary shifts. This brought its budget to R1.7 billion.
“The reality is that we face these budget pressures and tough choices because of years of poor management of the economy by the national government, with their wide-scale corruption and waste, and of course state capture.
“This, coupled with Covid-19, means we in the Western Cape are feeling the pinch, despite being the best-run government in the country.”
Leader of the ANC in the province Cameron Dugmore said that while he acknowledged that the department's budget had been chopped, the entire adjustment to the province had actually worked out to an increase of R1.4 billion from the national government via an increase to the equitable share.
“We need to give credit where credit is due in the sense that the presidential employment initiative, as indicated in the adjusted estimates of revenue, has basically seen an extra R928 million going to education.”
He said the funds from the presidential employment initiative had allowed the provincial education department to appoint education assistants in schools.
EFF provincial deputy chairperson Nosipho Makamba-Botya said the fact that the premier’s office had cut the budget for NPOs by R400 000 was concerning.
She said it was sad that in the difficult times brought on by the pandemic, NPOs that provided assistance for humanitarian relief were forced to struggle for funding.
DA Chief Whip Mireille Wenger, however, said: “The budget crunch that MEC Maynier has referred to is very real. But as demonstrated through the budget of the Department of the Premier, the provincial government will continue to find affordable ways to deliver services while protecting the dignity of residents.”