In a drive to tackle deep-rooted and looming challenges in the province, Finance and e-Government MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko has proved to be penny-wise and pound sensible.
This was evident when she topped up the March budget of R142.4 billion with an additional R4 billion add on, which she said was meant to strengthen frontline services in a fight against Covid-19 and the province’s economic boost.
This meant in total, Gauteng has been officially allocated R146.4 billion spending cash for the 2020/21 financial year.
According to the MEC, A total of R5.9 billion is allocated to the Health Response, and will be used to provide health infrastructure including refurbishment of facilities and build field hospitals, procure necessary 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.
In addition, the Nkomo-Ralehoko, allocated R6.3 billion to the Department of Education.
“This allocation includes: “R5.2 billion that has been reprioritised internally and R1.2 billion is new money, aimed at Covid-19 resourcing requirements outlined by the sector, and which are a pre-condition to the resumption of schooling.”
Department of Social Development received R88.9 million to fund aspects of the Covid-19 response that extend beyond normal responsibilities, including shelters for the homeless.
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The MEC said the reprioritisation of the budget has not impacted negatively on the Growing Gauteng Together 2030 plan. “Our message is that we are still on track with the implementation of GGT 2030,” she said.
As part of the provincial economic response to Covid-19, MEC protected the investment in infrastructure for the 2020/21 financial year, and increased the budget by 5.3% from R11.6 billion announced in March to the adjusted appropriation of R12.2 billion.
“The increase is driven by the Covid-19 infrastructure requirements in Health, where the budget for infrastructure has more than doubled from R2 billion to R4.2 billion. This budget will be used to provide additional health facilities and refurbish existing ones in response to the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said.
“Infrastructure is a fundamental enabler towards the delivery of services, creation of sustainable job opportunities and economic growth and development,” she added.
Furthermore, MEC allocated R20 million for ward-based Civic Education to enhance public awareness about measures to limit the spread of Covid-19.
“I call upon our people to continue to follow the golden rules of fighting the spread of Covid-19: Wear a mask correctly when in public at all times, wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, and maintain physical and social distancing.
“It has been demonstrated globally that when it comes to fighting the spread of Covid-19, these golden rules are important to protect ourselves and those around us,” she said.