Gauteng increases budget by R4bn to deal with Covid-19

23 July 2020 - 14:26
Gauteng finance MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko presented a budget which increased from that announced in March by R4bn to R146.4bn.
Gauteng finance MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko presented a budget which increased from that announced in March by R4bn to R146.4bn.
Image: Antonio Muchave

Gauteng finance MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko has presented a budget to the legislature which reprioritised money to help the provincial government respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nkomo-Ralehoko’s adjusted 2020/2021 budget increased by R4bn from the R142.4bn announced in March to R146.4bn.

Funds were reprioritised by the provincial treasury to avail more money for health, education and social development which desperately need more funding for the fight against Covid-19 in the province.

“A total of R5.9bn is allocated to the health response, and will be used to provide health infrastructure including refurbishment of facilities and build field hospitals, procure medical equipment, ensure the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE), oxygen and testing kits, and hiring and remuneration of frontline health personnel, which is a key component in the Covid-19 response,” Nkomo-Ralehoko said.

The education department received R6.3bn. This allocation includes R5.2bn which has been reprioritised internally and R1.2bn in new money aimed at providing resources outlined by national government as requirements for the reopening of schools.

The department of social development received R88.9m to fund a Covid-19 response that extends beyond normal responsibilities such as shelters for the homeless.

Nkomo-Ralehoko boosted the investment on infrastructure which is part of provincial government’s economic response to Covid-19 for the 2020/2021 financial year. She increased the budget for infrastructure by 5.3% from R11.6bn announced in March to R12.2bn.

“The increase is driven by the Covid-19 infrastructure requirements in health, where the budget for infrastructure has more than doubled from R2b to R4.2bn. This budget will be used to provide additional health facilities and refurbish existing ones.

“Infrastructure is a fundamental enabler towards the delivery of services, creation of sustainable job opportunities and economic growth and development,” she said.

 Additional allocations included:

  • R250m to support small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) through partnerships with the private sector to raise money required to expand procurement and business development support;
  • R28.3m towards the department of sport, arts, culture and recreation relief fund;  
  • R14m for the contribution to operational costs for the Tshwane automotive special economic zone; and
  • R20m for ward-based public awareness to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Allocations for the office of the premier declined by R17.5m, human settlements decreased by R598.2m, while roads and transport shrank by R691.4m.

The department of infrastructure development’s budget was adjusted down by R28.8m while the provincial treasury also cut its own allocation by R68.5m for the financial year.

TimesLIVE reported overnight that SA now has a total of 394,948 cases of Covid-19 across the country, the majority in Gauteng (144,582), the Western Cape (87,847), the Eastern Cape (67,818) and KwaZulu-Natal (50,521).

- SowetanLIVE