Picture: 123RF / PIXELERY
Picture: 123RF / PIXELERY

The Eastern Cape budget has taken a R13bn beating in recent years because of an exodus of 300‚000 people from the province since 2011.

Tabling the province’s R78.2bn budget in the provincial legislature on Wednesday‚ finance MEC Sakhumzi Somyo spoke of it as a "balancing budget".

He dedicated the budget to Nelson Mandela‚ saying he felt the budget had stayed true to Madiba’s "course and used the public purse to contribute to the achievement of Mandela’s vision"‚ and called on business‚ labour and civil society to "form a united front that will enhance our resolve to inclusive economic growth and job creation".

However‚ Somyo decried the move of so many residents from the Eastern Cape to other provinces‚ as per Census 2011‚ which had led to a R13.9bn cut in the province’s national allocation since 2013. This meant the province had to use its money prudently and efficiently "to effect positive change in the lives of our people".

Despite a push to promote growth in agriculture‚ small businesses‚ and infrastructure‚ Somyo was once again forced to allocate 75% of the budget to the so-called "apex" departments of health (R23.7bn) and education (R34.7bn).

Daily Dispatch