South Africa’s provinces spent R424.9-billion, or 98.6%, of their adjusted budgets of R430.9-billion in the 2013/14 financial year – a 7.6% increase compared with the previous financial year, National Treasury revealed on Friday.

Limpopo and Gauteng spent the least of their budgets at 96.7% and 97.3% respectively, while spending was the highest in KwaZulu-Natal, which spent 100.1% of its budget and the North West, which spent 99.8%.

Education remained the largest item on the provincial budgets, accounting for 41.1% of the total amount, followed by health at 30.8% of the total provincial budgets.

Education expenditure by the provinces amounted to R176.6-billion, or 99.6%, of the adjusted budgets during the 2013/14 financial year, while health expenditure totalled R130.6-billion, or 98.5%, of the total of R132.6-billion budgeted.

Social development expenditure for the year amounted to R13.8-billion, and the provinces spent R254.6-billion on the compensation of employees.

National Treasury also noted that, in aggregate, provinces spent R30-billion, of 92.4%, or their R32.5-billion combined capital adjusted budgets, reflecting a 5.1% increase on that spent during the previous financial year.

The biggest share, or 34.5%, of the provincial capital adjusted budgets went towards public works, roads and transport departments, which spent R10.8-billion, or 96%, of their combined capital adjusted budgets of R11.2-billion.

Provincial own revenue collected during the period was R14.7-billion, or 113.6%, of the budgeted own revenue of R13-billion. National government transferred R338.9-billion to the provinces in the form of equitable share and R76.7-billion as conditional grants.