Adjusted Estimates of Provincial Expenditure 2017 Speech
Ladies and Gentlemen
Madam Speaker, the 2017 - 2020 Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) incorporated a provincial fiscal risks statement which identified water security and the spill-over effects of the drought experienced by the Province as a major risk to the economy, employment and environment.
This risk, Madam Speaker, has now materialised.
The Western Cape was affected by at least three major disasters (natural, environmental and biological) in the recent past. This appropriation is aimed at responding to these disasters in the following manner:
(1) Further to the impact of the current drought, a massive winter storm struck Cape Town and surrounding areas over the period 6 – 8 June 2017.
(2) Then, during the same period, a huge fire raged in the Eden District, specifically in the Knysna and Plettenberg Bay area between Thursday, 8 June 2017 and Sunday, 11 June 2017.
(3) In addition, this appropriation also responds to the partial destruction of the Swartland Hospital and related equipment caused by a fire on 18 March 2017.
(4) A large section of Imizamo Yethu, Hout Bay, Cape Town was also devastated by fires.
Madam Speaker, these disasters impacted the communities and key public infrastructure in the affected areas.
With regard to the severe weather conditions experienced in Cape Town and surrounding areas over the period 6 to 8 June 2017, informal houses were flooded and schools, roads and other infrastructure were damaged.
The storm impacted severely on people’s livelihood in certain areas, with reports of loss of life and, over 113 schools and 30 health facilities affected.
Approximately 827 informal settlement structures were damaged.
The Knysna and Plettenberg Bay areas in the Eden District experienced out of control fires from 7 June 2017, damaging as an initial estimate 6 school buildings, 2 health facilities, private properties and the environment. It was also necessary to evacuate the Knysna Hospital.
Almost 10 000 people were displaced as fires swept through approximately 20 suburbs of Knysna, which necessitated the provision of emergency housing requirements.
The Provincial Government responded by providing emergency assistance to the affected areas, particularly in respect of roads and other social infrastructure, transport and evacuation costs in the region.
A further disaster, where emergency assistance was provided, is for the Swartland Hospital in Malmesbury, which caught fire and burned down on Saturday, 18 March 2017, damaging, amongst other, wards, the emergency centre and theatres. Patients had to be transferred to surrounding hospitals.
On 11 and 12 March 2017 a large section of Imizamo Yethu, Hout Bay, Cape Town was devastated by fires that killed 3 people, destroyed 3 500 homes and displaced 15 000 people.
Madam Speaker, as Provincial Minister of Finance, in terms of section 25 of the Public Finance Management Act, I am empowered to authorise the use of funds in emergency situations to defray expenditure of an exceptional nature, which is currently not provided for and which cannot, without serious prejudice to the public interest in the Province, be postponed to a future appropriation by the Provincial Cabinet.
The tabling of this Adjustments Appropriation (Emergency Funds) Bill in the Provincial Parliament is necessitated in terms of section 25 of the PFMA, which stipulates that such emergency funds must be included either in the next provincial adjustments budget for the financial year in which the expenditure is authorised, or in an appropriation bill tabled in the Provincial Parliament within 120 days of the Provincial Minister of Finance authorising the expenditure, whichever is sooner.
The allocations taken up in this Bill include the following:
- Vote 4 - Community Safety receives R240 000 for security requirements at care facilities.
- Vote 5 - Education receives R15 million for damage to school infrastructure as a result of the adverse weather conditions and fires.
- In total, R19.460 million is allocated to Vote 6 – Health, of which R1.2 million is made available for damage to infrastructure as a result of the storm and the fire, and R15 million to support the Department to deal with the cost associated with the Swartland Hospital, particularly for prefabricated units, replacement linen and technology. A further R3.260 million is allocated for Health Technology also at the Swartland Hospital.
- R1 million is allocated to the Department of Social Development for emergency humanitarian support, including repairs and associated equipment, and for trauma counselling and therapeutic interventions for those affected by the disaster.
- Human Settlements receives R7.5 million to deal with the displacement of people due to adverse weather conditions and fires in the City of Cape Town and in the Eden District.
The funds will be utilised to supplement the funding from the Human Settlement Development Grant (HSDG) for Knysna, R5 million and Cape Town, R2.5 million, to pay for those items that are not covered by the subsidy quantum.
- R3 million is allocated to Vote 9 - Environmental Affairs and Development Planning and will be transferred to CapeNature for fire damage to infrastructure.
- Transport and Public Works: Roads Infrastructure receives R5.8 million to deal with roads infrastructure repairs relating to the June 2017 fire disaster in the Eden District.
- Vote 11 – Agriculture receives R8 million of which R5 million is allocated to mitigate the impact of natural and biological disasters on the agricultural sector at large.
An additional allocation of R3 million is allocated to clear a weir in the Leeu River from sand blown into it, to ensure the free flow of water into a canal flowing into the Voëlvlei Dam to potentially secure another 7 to 8 million cubic metres of water to be transferred into the Voëlvlei Dam which will secure an additional 16 days of water supply, particularly to the City of Cape Town.
- R15 million is allocated to Vote 14 - Local Government for disaster management co-ordination, drought assistance and key related infrastructure requirements at municipalities that fall within the Provincial Government mandate.
The R15 million is split into R9 million that will be spent on drought relief financial assistance to municipalities to augment water supply and bulk infrastructure capacity in drought stricken municipalities and the balance of R6 million will be spent on aerial firefighting support and a drought awareness campaign.
I would also like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to the communities of the Western Cape who volunteered and sacrificed time and money in response to the disaster.
This Government, under the leadership of Premier Zille, immediately called an emergency Cabinet meeting in Knysna to respond to the whole disaster across the Western Cape Province.
I would also like to express my thanks to all businesses, banks, other financial institutions, municipalities, National Government and disaster management agencies for excellent support during this most difficult period.
Madam Speaker, I now table the Western Cape Adjustments Appropriation (Emergency Funds) Bill 2017, the Adjusted Estimates of Provincial Expenditure (Emergency Funds), 2017 and the Provincial Extraordinary Gazette containing allocations to municipalities, for deliberation in the House.
I thank you.