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Northern Cape budget: Significant increase for Premier’s Office raises eyebrows

Eyebrows were raised by the announcement that the budgets of service delivery departments increased with single digits, while the Office of the Premier's (Zamani Saul) budget was increased by 55%.

The Northern Cape MEC for Finance, Abraham Vosloo, tabled the province's budget on Wednesday.

The FF Plus will thoroughly inspect the increase in the Premier's budget when the details of the respective departments' budgets are up for discussion.

The good news is that the province's equitable share, which it receives from the central government, will increase with more than R400 million over the next three years. It will help to reduce the projected budget deficit.

Education and Health remain the province's biggest expenses with approximately R8 billion (an increase of 3,7%) and R6 billion (an increase of 5,2%), respectively.

Roads and Infrastructure's budget increases with a substantial 19% to more than R2 billion.

The provincial roads are in a terrible condition due to the large quantities of manganese ore that is transported by road from the Kalahari to various ports.

The Northern Cape's economy relies very heavily on agriculture. With a budget of approximately R950 million for Agriculture and Land Reform, the FF Plus would have liked to see a more considerable increase than the 3% that was announced.

The scarcely populated and vast Northern Cape faces specific challenges regarding transport, education and health.

These departments' performance needs to improve seeing as the wellbeing and economic prospects of the province's people depend on it.

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