Mbombela - Mpumalanga Finance MEC Madala Masuku has encouraged departments to use the province's R33.7 billion budget wisely to help Mpumalanga meet its development goals.
Delivering the 2013/2014 provincial Budget Speech in Mbombela on Tuesday, Masuku said Mpumalanga received 8% of the R338 billion allocated to South Africa's nine provinces for this financial year, whereas Mpumalanga's population had increased from 3.6 million people to four million over the years.
“We are one of the provinces whose population increased tremendously according to recent statistics... As Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said in the National Budget Speech, we need to actively pursue a different trajectory if we are to address the challenges ahead,” said Masuku.
The MEC said the global economic growth challenge, the Eurozone in particular, had a negative impact on South Africa's gross domestic product (GDP).
“This situation causes so much strain on the public purse and socio-economic development of society.”
Masuku said South Africa currently sold fewer products than it bought from other nations.
He said this mirrored the situation in Mpumalanga where the province's economic growth was now expected to grow at a rate of 2.9% this year, lower than the earlier projections of 3.1%.
“We expect a recovery to a GDP growth rate of more than 4% for our province only from 2015. This has to happen if we are to realise the needed growth rate of 5% to 7% necessary to meet our target of 719 000 jobs by the year 2020,” added Masuku.
The provincial departments were allocated budgets as follows:
The Education Department received R14.8 billion, the biggest chunk of all departments.
The second largest chunk of the budget at R8.8 billion went to the Department of Health, while R3.9 billion was allocated to the Public Works, Roads and Transport Department.
Masuku allocated R1.3 billion to the Human Settlements Department. The Department of Social Development received R1.1 billion, while an amount of R1.05 billion went to the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform.
R841.7 million went to the Department of Community Safety, Security and Liaison and R821.5 million to the Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism.
The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs was allocated R425.9 million. An amount of R351.8 million was allocated to the Department of Culture, Sport and Recreation.
The Department of Finance, under the leadership of Masuku - who was appointed to the executive position last month - was allocated R266.8 million.
The Provincial Legislature and the Office of the Premier were allocated R243.4 million and R200.4 million respectively.
“This is a widely canvassed budget, based on the set guidance that the house gave us through the acceptance of the State of the Province Address presented by Premier David Mabuza on March 1,” Masuku said. – SAnews.gov.za