The R684 million Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) that Finance MEC Phumulo Masualle allocated to the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) is as a sign of public confidence in the ECDC’s effective use of public funds and assets.

ECDC CEO Sitembele Mase made this statement in response to the 2014/15 Eastern Cape Budget Speech. According to Mase, the ECDC was allocated R336 million in the first year of the MTEF alone. Of this, R221 million will be put towardsthe ECDC’s social infrastructure programme, while the remaining R115 million will be set aside for yearly grant funding.

Mase says the budget prioritises a balanced and diversified economy which encourages linkages between the primary production and manufacturing sectors. This,from the ECDC’s perspective, makes it a smart and integrated budget.

According to Mase, the ECDC has boasted unqualified audit outcomes since 2008. The CEO says the budget shows the corporation’s effective handling of public funds and assets as well as the turnaround of the institution. “The development financier intends to further improve its systems and processes for the effective use of public funds and assets. ECDC will thus work harder to improve its capacity to deliver,” he says.

Moving forward

The ECDC will now shift its focus to the maintenance and renewal of existing social infrastructure, as well as improving infrastructure functionality in the social sector.In line with government’s objective of improving access to social infrastructure, the corporation’s social infrastructure programme will focus on providing running water, electricity, sanitation and ablution facilities. As part of this it will work on the replacement of mud schools and the improvement of access to social infrastructure facilitieswithin the district municipal areas.

“This social infrastructure programme should improve the quality of life of rural citizens and ensure that young people in these parts enjoy the same privileges as their urban counterparts. This is a challenging task that demands the recruitment of new skills and delivery capacity,” concludes Mase.