KWAZULU-NATAL Premier Zweli Mkhize says the province's cash flow has improved for the first time since he took office on June 8 last year.
Addressing the media yesterday on his 365 days in office, Mkhize said the state-of-the-province was presented on June 18 last year when South Africa had officially slipped into recession for the first time in 17 years.
"As a newly elected government, we had to come to terms with the challenges that the global economic downturn brought such as massive job losses," he said.
"In addition, this province had a serious constraint caused by a huge over-expenditure that has to be serviced for the next three years - further impacting on the limited resources available."
Mkhize said the government had over-spent its 2007/08 budget by R164,3million, largely due to the R1billion over-expenditure in the department of health, attributed to a sudden increase in the number of recipients of antiretroviral treatment and the implementation of OSD paid to nurses.
He said most over-expenditure also occurred in goods, services and personnel costs across all departments. "Through careful management, coupled with cost-cutting initiatives, we have been able to keep down the cost of servicing the provincial debt.
"We are now well within the debt facilities available to the province," Mkhize said.
Among other achievements, the provincial cabinet directed that the actual cash position of departments be carefully monitored, and that the provincial treasury submits a status report on the cash flow performance of all departments to cabinet on a monthly basis.
"Provincial bank overdraft is managed correctly: the actual cash flow of the province is improving. For the first time since June 2008 the province has frequent positive net cash balances."