Lyse Comins

The KwaZulu-Natal Budget paints an “extremely dark picture and spells out a bleak future” for the province the DA said in reaction to the  “Making your rand go an extra mile” budget speech delivered by  Finance MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube on Tuesday.

In her 2021/22 KwaZulu-Natal Budget speech Dube-Ncube noted the impact of Covid-19 on the budget and that expected tax revenues had been influenced by low economic growth, with a projected shortfall of R233 billion in national tax revenues in 2020/21, and shortfalls of  R167 billion and R163 billion  in 2021/22 and 2022/23 respectively.

“It is therefore imperative that we focus on reducing our debt and also focus on our economic recovery to set us on a surer footing in the future,” she said.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the key allocations announced in the 2021/22 KwaZulu-Natal Budget Speech:

  • Education received the lion’s share (39,8%) of the budget with a R53,2 billion allocation. 
  • The second largest portion of the provincial budget went to the Department of Health at 36.2%, with a budget of R48.4 billion.
  • The Department of Transport receives 8.7% of the provincial budget at R11.6 billion. 
  • The Department of Human Settlements received R3.6 billion and the main purpose of this allocation is for the provision of sustainable human settlements, as well as the provision of affordable housing and essential services. 
  • The Department of Social Development received R3.7 billion. 
  • The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development received R2.5 billion.  This will be used to provide for improved household food security, improved farmer development for increased agricultural production, sector growth and an inclusive rural economy, a reduction in the out-break of cases of controlled and notifiable animal disease, as well as increased research knowledge production, agricultural education and training. 

COGTA received R1.8 billion. 

The Department of Public Works was allocated R1.7 billion. 

DA spokesperson on finance Francois Rodgers said the KwaZulu-Natal Budget “ paints an extremely dark picture and spells out a bleak future for our province” as it reflected budget cuts across all departments.

“It is a budget speech filled with economic realities but with few solutions when it comes to addressing socio-economic, unemployment and inequality challenges in KZN,” he said.

“While the Covid-19 pandemic has certainly played a part in the province’s economic collapse and subsequent budget cuts, it is not the main cause of the disastrous position that KZN finds itself in today. Instead, the endemic corruption and theft of provincial monies highlighted during the pandemic are systemic of the problems faced,” Rodgers said.

“Now the crunch has hit, with cuts across all departments as a result of the equitable share and conditional grant funding. The equitable share only sees a minimal growth of R171 million over the MTEF (mid-term expenditure framework). Alarmingly the province’s conditional grant fund sees a cut of just over a billion rand over the MTEF,” he said.

He added that it appeared likely that the education department would over-spend its 2020/21 budget by almost R800 million. 

“If this is indeed the case, this over-expenditure will have to be funded out of the 2021/22 budget – an impossible task,” he said.

He said the budget had also not addressed any wage increases.

“History tells us that the ANC’s alliance partners will demand their piece of cake. This equates to R16 billion over the next two years that Treasury would have to find, should labour win their case,” he said.

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Presh JM Reporter

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