Limpopo gets billions more to spend

Limpopo treasury MEC David Masondo today tabled the troubled province’s 2012/13 budget of R46.9 billion, under the watchful eye of the national intervention team. This is R5.9 billion more than the previous financial year

Masondo said the lion’s share of the money, R22.1 billion, would go to education.

“Through this allocation the department will implement the 12 policy priorities which include the funding of non-school-fee schools, teacher development, scholar transport and others, including food schemes,” he said.

The province’s departments of health, education, transport, public works and treasury were placed under central government administration last year after the province had a budget shortfall of R2 billion.

The provincial treasury was allocated R315 million to help local municipalities and departments achieve clean audits.

Masondo said the budget was the foundation for Limpopo’s return to sustainability.

“We have begun putting measures [in place] to ensure sound financial management practices so that our limited resources are well spent,” he said.

The intervention team’s head, Monde Tom, said the national government was working hard to restore the province’s financial system, saying progress had been made.

Monde said the team would be guided by Cabinet on when to pull out of the province.

Democratic Alliance provincial leader Jeffrey van der Walt said he was happy that 77% of the budget would be spent on the social services cluster — which included education, health, social development, sport, arts and culture.

“But the MEC was a bit nervous, though he at least admitted that the province is [in] financial trouble. I am disappointed he said nothing about the land issue, something that we should not keep on avoiding,” Van der Walt said.

Cope’s Solly Mkhatswa said Masondo had not spelt out clearly how the province would get out of its difficulties and start allocating more money to service delivery and job creation.