#Sopa2016: Zille focuses on looming budget cuts

Premier Helen Zille is delivering her State of the Province Address, focusing largely on the economy.

Premier Helen Zille delivered her State of the Province Address at the Western Cape Legislature on 19 February 2016. Picture: Xolani Koyana/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape Government could be forced to implement austerity measures.

Premier Helen Zille is delivering her State of the Province Address (Sopa) in the Western Cape Legislature today.

Her address has focused largely on the state of the economy, in which she spoke about looming budget cuts.

Zille has told the house the provincial government is looking at ways to implement budget cuts imposed by President Jacob Zuma.

She says the province currently has several options, one of them being cutting its salary bill.

"The second is to insist that the National Treasury cover the shortfall. The third is to take the option presented to us by the Presidency and effect that office rationalisations to fund frontline services."

Zille says the state's exorbitant Public Service Wage Bill is a threat to economic growth.


At the same time, the Western Cape government expects a 10 percent decrease in agricultural production due to the drought.

Zille spoke of how the province's economy was taking a knock because of water scarcity.

She says residents are likely to take strain as a result of food inflation.

The premier announced in the house that the provincial government is still awaiting a national response on its application for R88 million to assist farmers hit by drought.

She says the province will also contribute its own resources to try to keep businesses afloat.

"Emerging farmers will receive an emergency support package from provincial funds, to help them survive this very difficult period. The package will include subsidies for farmworker wages."

Zille says she's been encouraged by the generosity of some farmers who have contributed about a hundred tonnes of feed to those battling the effects of drought.

LISTEN: City of CT looks at ways of beating drought