Boost for education in Gauteng

By Drum Digital
05 March 2013

Education received the biggest slice in the Gauteng budget, presented by finance MEC Mandla Nkomfe on Tuesday.

Presenting his budget speech in the provincial legislature, Nkomfe said the government intended improving access to and the quality of education in the province.

"Our commitment to deliver quality basic education for all learners in the province is unwavering, primarily because education is the essential tool that helps us to respond to the societal needs of economic growth and social transformation."

A total of R352 million was set aside for programmes aimed at improving the performance of schools by focusing on problem areas. These include the supplementary tuition programme on Saturdays.

An amount of R362m was budgeted for school safety programmes over the next three years (Medium Term Expenditure Framework or MTEF).

A total of R3.3 billion was set aside for the next three years to buy pupil and teacher support material.

Scholar transport would be extended to 57,000 pupils in the financial year 2013/14, and R1.1bn was set aside for this over the next three years.

Pupils in no-fee schools would continue to receive healthy meals.

A total of R585.2m in 2013/14, R640.5m in 2014/15 and R679m in 2015/16 had been set aside, Nkomfe said.

Another R311m had been allocated to the Bana Pele programme for the provision of school uniforms for the next three years.

Nkomfe said 23.7 percent of the South African population lived in Gauteng, which exerted pressure on the provision of social services.

Nkomfe commended the province for exceeding its revenue collection target of 2012/13 by R618m.

A total of R4bn in revenue was projected for the financial year 2013/14. This was expected to grow to R4.2bn in 2014/15 and R4.6bn in 2015/16.

The department of social development, with the support of the education department, would increase access to early childhood development with the construction of care facilities. These would be located in Mapetla, Soshanguve, Hammanskraal and Bophelong, at a cost of R916m over the next three years.

The health department received R1.1bn. Additional funding of R430m was allocated for the MTEF for improving primary health care.

A total of R10.2bn would be spent the next three years to extend ARV treatment through local clinics.

Nkomfe announced that the Helen Joseph, Tembisa and Kalafong hospitals had been reclassified as tertiary hospitals. The Natalspruit and Zola hospitals would be commissioned in the 2013/14 financial year.

The health department was allocated R1.5bn over the MTEF to run these hospitals.

An additional allocation amounting to R2.2bn was made available for personnel costs.

Nkomfe allotted R88.6m for programmes to help fight crime and violence against women and children.

Economic hubs would be established to boost youth employment. Three hubs would be at Winterveldt and focus on the automotive industry, linking the production of vehicles to greater Tshwane.

Meanwhile the hubs in Mohlakeng and Kagiso would focus on youth enterprises through the maintenance of vehicles.

The budget allocation for the entire programme is R60 million over the MTEF.

-Sapa

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