The Northern Cape provincial government has announced some stringent cost-cutting measures. The money saved in other areas will be used to boost service delivery. Among them are plans to sell the premier’s official residence, in order to fund the Health Department and not purchasing any new cars for the executives.
With over 20 ambulances already delivered and another 40 promised before the end of the financial year, Provincial Premier Zamani Saul has a particular focus on fixing the province’s ailing Health Department. His other priority is education.
Saul’s inaugural address hit all the right notes for the public. State House and other unused state buildings will be sold and the savings paid over to the burdened Health Department to purchase new ambulances and up the department’s service delivery.
“Out of the R17 billion, 11 goes to health and education. It becomes your immediate focus area in order to improve output in these two departments and that’s what I have committed the 6th administration to,” says Saul.
Saul’s plans include accommodating state-owned construction and mining companies, as well as making his government less dependent on tender-based purchases.
“We have to set ourselves targets, what is it we want to achieve and what percentage of our Capex (capital expenditure) budget that the Northern Cape construction company will have to do. So if it is feasible, we are going to do it. The legal team is working on it together with public works.”
He has also promised to pay special attention to the Health and Education departments, camping out for two days every week at their offices. The controversial mental health hospital, yet to be officially opened after 10 years with a price tag of more than a billion rand, is a priority.
“It’s at an advanced stage. The plan was completed, that’s why I’m saying for me I’ll see if there’s a need to tweak it but if there’s no need I’ll implement it without delay,” says Health MEC Mase Manopole.
The province is also in the process of registering unemployed youth with the aim of training them to find work. The province has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the country.
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