Education, health top Gauteng budget

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Johannesburg - Improving education and healthcare remained top of the list of priorities during the presentation of the Gauteng budget on Tuesday, with Finance MEC Mandla Nkomfe allocating more than R25 billion towards the province's schooling system. 

Health will receive over R22 billion, up by 12 percent compared to last year. Nkomfe said the bigger allocations in the two sectors formed part of the list of outcomes that several departments signed to turn the tide in education and health. 

Gauteng recorded a remarkable improvement with its matric results last year, from 71.8 percent to 78.6 percent with improvements recorded in subjects such as mathematics and science. Nkomfe said the increased budgets in education and health will help maintain a "high standard" and meet the demands for an effective health service. 

"In terms of these allocations, the provision of high quality basic education remains the most important key to socio economic development and our resources aught to be channeled in these areas for further improvements," he said. 

The province's health department acknowledges that the majority of its healthcare facilities have aged and the dilapidating infrastructure was further "aggravated by insufficient maintenance that had led to material backlogs." The condition of the infrastructure will necessitate an increase in the maintenance budget from R570 million in 2010/11, to R822 million in the next financial year. 

Nkomfe said R1.6 billion of the budget will go to programmes aimed at strengthening the fight against HIV and Aids, with the majority of the funds allocated to public hospitals.

"We also acknowledge that the physical state of our public health institutions is not in a desirable condition and have allocated R800 million towards their revitalization, upgrades and general maintenance," he added. - BuaNews