Releasing it’s 2016/2017 financial budget on Tuesday, Finance MEC Barbara Creecy said Gauteng‘s R103.4 billion budget would be geared towards road constructions, building of hospitals, clinics, schools and maintaining existing public property.
The finance MEC further stated that the province will also be spending the sum of R41.6 billion on infrastructure needed by the Gauteng’s citizens, these infrastructure would be divided across various departments within the province.
Creecy said they were conscious of the important role infrastructure delivery played in the facilitation of the flow of goods, information as well as production factors between buyers and sellers.
“We believe that this is our source of fiscal stimulus, with the twin objectives of creating jobs and improving economic performance and also to ensure better living conditions for our people,” she said.
Creecy however said that some departments would be allocated more of the budget than the rest. These include the human settlements department which would be allocated the sum of R5.2 billion, the education department which would receive R3 billion, roads and transport which would receive R2.3 billion, and the health department which would get R1.9 billion.
Health and education department are not left out in the budget as they would be receiving major financial allocation. The education department would receive R39.06bn from the province, an increase from last year’s R36.43bn in the last financial year while the department of health has been allocated R37.4bn for the 2016/2017 financial year, an increase of R2.07bn on the previous financial year, she said.
The finance MEC also pointed out that government had been on its toes working to unblock issues that had prevented the private sector from investing in the development of public infrastructure and this intervention would see the province receiving an additional R10 billion invested through public private partnerships over the coming years.
Meanwhile, as the speech was being read, the Democratic Alliance (DA) called for the province to ensure “realistic plans” are made.
“The DA hopes that MEC Creecy announces a growth budget with realistic plans to get the economy of Gauteng up and running,” said Adriana Randall, DA Gauteng shadow MEC on finance, as she called for more focus to be geared towards job creation
There is a need to trim employment of non-critical personnel, eliminate super numeracy positions and establish a sustainable level of authorized, funded posts that will be closely monitored in years ahead – simply put get rid of the bloat.
Entities not performing critical functions must be closed down, and entities need to be weaned off their reliance on transfers.
Urgent steps must be taken to get better value for money from spending on infrastructure. Gauteng must use prototype designs and benchmark costs projects like schools.
She said that the new procurement standards introduced in 2015 should be implemented to enable the negotiation of lower prices and added that corrupt practices must be minimized across all departments.
Creecy confirmed that of Gauteng’s 13.2 million residents, 2 million were unemployed. According to the MEC, youthful urbanisation was a reality.
“70 percent of Gauteng’s population is below the age of 40. According to the United Nations, 64.3 percent of South Africa’s populations lives in cities. Gauteng is the centre of urbanisation. It remains the province of choice and our cities remain the engine of economic growth,” she said.