Model of funding provinces must be reviewed - Mokonyane

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pretoria - With Gauteng recording the highest increase in population size in the Census 2011, the national government needs to adjust the model of funding for provinces, Premier Nomvula Mokonyane said on Wednesday.

According to the Gauteng Provincial Government, the premier of South Africa's most populous province stressed that in addition to the increase in population, the province's resources were strained because it also catered for people from outside its borders.

"We have been vindicated as the province by Census 2011 because this is what we've been saying all along - that we are a province that serves people that reside beyond its borders," she told the media in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

The Census 2011 recorded that Gauteng had a population increase of 2.9 million people between 2001 and 2011, putting its population count at around 13 million inhabitants.

The population increase is a result of natural growth as well as significant in-migration from other provinces and around the world.

Addressing reporters about the implications of Census 2011 on the province, Mokonyane said she was content with its findings, saying they spoke to issues which had been raised in the province's own recent Quality of Life survey.

"The results of the Census 2011 have, by and large, confirmed research about our province and the direction we should take in developing towards Vision 2055. This data is critical as our lessons from other globally-competitive city-regions show that forward-effective planning is fundamental to staying ahead of the pack," said the premier.

Furthermore, she said the figures demonstrate rapid urbanisation.

"Whilst cities play a crucial role in fostering economic productivity and innovation, they need to be properly planned and effectively managed. In this respect, Gauteng, including its metros and districts, will be working with the National Planning Commission in developing a national Urban Development Strategy," she said.

Mokonyane said this will ensure that Gauteng remains the country's key "economic node that is environmentally-sustainable to meet the socio-economic needs of its people".

On the issues of providing education, electricity and providing shelter, she said she was pleased with the results of the Census but the high unemployment was giving her sleepless nights.

She urged business to come to the party and reskill its workforce so they can remain competitive.

Mokonyane said the Census 2011 results demonstrated that a "one-size-fits-all" model of funding provinces was not working.

"We've got learners who come from other provinces who come and collect stationery, learner material and uniform and leave.

"If we continue seeing buses coming from Limpopo to Baragwanath [Hospital], it can't be the same model that is used to fund Bara. There is no point in taking some of the health budget to Limpopo [Province] when people from Limpopo [Province] are in Baragwanath.

"So the way you fund health services for Gauteng can't be the same way you fund other provinces. I've been to Bara and I saw three buses coming from other provinces. We are not going to chase those people away. What we need is better funding, that's all," the Premier said. -