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In a drive to fight Covid-19 and support economic development in these challenging time,  Finance MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko recently  unveiled Gauteng’s R142.6 billion budget; stressing out,  it addresses fiscal consolidation measures taken by national to narrow the budget deficit, while providing substantial resources to fight COVID-19 and support economic development and job creation.

“A total of R5.9 billion in new money has been allocated over the 2021 MTEF, the bulk of which will be focusing on defeating the COVID-19 pandemic.  Consideration has also been given to the vaccine rollout, which will be resourced through an injection of nearly R565 million in conditional grant funding,” the MEC said.

Given the severely constrained fiscus and the devastating effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, the MEC said: “There must be a concerted effort to curb wastage, irrespective of whether it is in the procurement of movable or immovable assets, or goods and services. Inflated prices, variations, compensation events and non-completion of infrastructure projects can no longer be the norm”.

To re-ignite the economy, the MEC has, amongst other things, allocated R14.4 billion in 2021/22 towards economic services.

In addition, the MEC said: Over the 2021 MTEF, Gauteng Provincial Government will be investing a total of R35.3 billion in social and economic infrastructure. Of this amount, R34.3 billion goes to the departments of Human Settlements, Health, Education and Roads and Transport while the remaining R1 billion is allocated to the departments of Social Development, Agriculture & Rural Development, Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation and Infrastructure Development.

MEC Nkomo-Ralehoko said Gauteng is committed to improve educational and health outcomes, fight crime and protect the most vulnerable sections of the population against urban poverty and hunger.

“The ‘new normal’ brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic has made it more and more necessary that we adapt our ways of doing things. A critical component of this is through the use of ICT to deliver the curriculum, and over the MTEF, a total of R1.2 billion will be allocated to augment already existing resources in the Gauteng Department of Education baseline towards ensuring that ICT learning starts being rolled out to lower grades.

To continue the provision of care and protection of the homeless in collaboration with municipalities and other stakeholders, the Department of Social Development has been allocated R84 million.

“The Gauteng Department of Community Safety will be receiving a total of R92 million over the MTEF. These resources are aimed at augmenting the department’s operational budget, together with a once-off allocation towards the infrastructure-related elements of the e-Policing Strategy that is an integral part of the GGT2030 priority addressing Safety, Social Cohesion and Food Security,” the MEC said.

The MEC said Gauteng is continuing with efforts to strengthen capacity to fight fraud and corruption and promote transparency in the provincial government. “In this regard last week we published the 6th COVID-19 Expenditure Disclosure Report, detailing how much money was spent procuring goods and services related to the fight against the pandemic by each department. We release these reports every month and publish them on the provincial government portal for scrutiny by the public,” she said.

The MEC also announced that Gauteng has allocated projects valued at R29 billion through the Open Tender project. “We have made significant progress to decentralise the Open Tender function with the aim of improving efficiency in the implementation of projects,” she added.

Additional info supplied by Gauteng Treasury.

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