N Cape finances on the mend

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Kimberly – Northern Cape Acting Premier Grizelda Cjiekella says a positive picture is emerging from the province’s financial books.

Speaking at the State of the Province Address on Friday, Cjiekella said the current administration inherited a “huge debt” from the previous administration.

“We inherited a bank overdraft of R357.7 million of which First National Bank was owed R109. 8 million and the Reserve bank R247.9 million and the province was on the brink of a cash flow crisis,” Cjiekella said.

She said the current administration has turned the overdraft to a positive bank balance of R90.5 million.

“Cash flow was not the only liability that we inherited, but we also inherited unauthorised expenditure amounting to R708.9 million from the previous administration.”

Although the province was in a healthy financial state, Cjiekella said the provincial government was still paying the debt left by the previous administration.

“In view of the steady and on-going progress we are making, we are certain that by the end of our term next year, we will have liquidated our liability, including the inherited debt,” Cjiekella said.

According to Cjiekella, at the end of January this year the bank balance was R558.6 million and by Friday, it stood at R527.4 million.

Turning the spotlight on the new university to be built in the province, the acting premier said they were happy with the developments.

She said Wits University had been appointed to provide technical project management services towards the establishment of the university.

“The Northern Cape provincial government foresees the new university to become a symbol of the new order - democracy, inclusiveness, growth and opportunity…”

Cjiekella said the university would provide critical skills to the key sectors locally and would also serve as a much needed local knowledge partner to advance research and innovation.

She said the construction of the new university was expected to commence this year.

“From being a mere concept in 2009, the new university will be a reality during the current administration’s term of office.”

The administrative seat of the new university will be located in Kimberly and the projected budget for the construction of the university is R4.2 billion.

Once completed, it is envisaged to have an intake of at least 5 000 students by 2014. – SAnews.gov.za