Provincial governments across the country are spending more than half of their budgets on staff salaries before providing services to the people.
This is contained in the National Treasury fourth-quarter provincial budgets and expenditure report for the 2016/17 financial year released on Tuesday.
Personnel expenditure for the 2016/17 financial year was R311.4-billion‚ which is 59.8% of the total expenditure of provinces.
Limpopo had the highest spending on compensation of employees at 69.3% of the total provincial expenditure.
Second to Limpopo was the Eastern Cape‚ spending 63.4% of their expenditure on salaries‚ followed by KwaZulu-Natal at 61.8% and Mpumalanga coming in at fourth place with 59.5%.
The province that spent the least on paying employees was the Western Cape at 53.1% of its total provincial expenditure.
Spending on education by provinces increased by 7.3% to R211.6-billion. This amount was 40.7% of the total provincial expenditure.
Provincial departments spent R18.7-billion on goods and services‚ including pupil and teacher support materials‚ which was 96.8% of the budgeted R19.3-billion.
However‚ the bulk (77.9%) of education expenditure went to personnel‚ which amounted to R164.8-billion.
Capital spending was R11.3-billion‚ which was 5.7% higher than the spending in the previous financial year.
Education capital expenditure was lowest in the Free State at 65.8% and Mpumalanga at 80.7%.
The adjusted health budget was R166.4-billion‚ which is 31.7% of the total adjusted provincial budgets. This was an increase of 8% or R12.3-billion on the 2015/16 financial year.
But health departments were also spending more on personnel than actually providing the health service itself.
Provincial health departments spent 63% of their health expenditure on paying employees.
Limpopo (70.9%)‚ Eastern Cape (65.6%) and Free State (64%) spent more of their health expenditure on personnel than the national average.
While a high percentage of the health expenditure went to paying employees‚ a meagre 4.4% of the total health expenditure went to capital expenditure.
Limpopo‚ which spent highest in percentage on personnel‚ only spent 2.5% of its health expenditure on capital expenditure‚ the lowest in the country.
The highest spender on capital expenditure was the Free State province‚ which spent 7.8% of its total health expenditure on capital expenditure.
At R17.9-billion‚ social development only made up 3.4% of the total adjusted provincial budgets. Provinces spent R17.7-billion (98.1%) of the adjusted budget of R17.9-billion.
At R28.1-billion‚ the adjusted budget for human settlements and local government comprised 5.4% of the provincial budgets and provinces spent R27.4-billion (97.6%).