Delivering his budget speech on Tuesday, MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Sikhumbuzo Eric Kholwane, said the budget for education will fund school infrastructure, provide dignity packs and bursaries.
The province is broadening access to education by building more boarding schools to mitigate the dysfunctional learning environment of farm schools.
“Included in this budget is an amount of R210 million for bursaries towards deserving young people, as per the wishes shared with me on social media,” MEC Kholwane said.
In line with the government priorities of social protection, security and societal development, the province has allocated R38 045 732 to the Social Sector departments.
The Social Services Cluster includes the Department of Basic Education, Department of Arts and Culture, Department of Higher Education, Department of Health, Department of Social Development and the Department of Sports and Recreation.
He said these departments provide essential services to the poor through targeted interventions such as social relief, public education, and advances the social cohesion and unity of South Africans around the Constitutional directive of the protection of human rights.
“Education has an influence of immense proportions in our efforts to fight the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality, particularly in improving the employability of the provincial labour force,” MEC Kholwane said.
The second largest component of the budget, at R13 278 174, is allocated to the Department of Health to strengthen primary health care; provide lifesaving care and medication and promote a healthy lifestyle, amongst others.
“Of this budget, R1 320 298 is allocated towards the continuing construction of health infrastructure, which includes Mapulaneng and Middelburg hospitals, as well as the completion of Bethal and Mmametlhake Hospitals,” he said.
The Department of Human Settlements received R1 774 080 to plan, coordinate and facilitate the creation of integrated and sustainable human settlements in the province.
“The department will not only increase access to housing opportunities for our people, but will also create job opportunities through the human settlements programmes.
“Some of the priority programmes to be funded through the department of Human Settlements includes the sanitation programme as a lack of or inadequate waste disposal or sewage systems have profound impact on the health of the society,” MEC Kholwane said.
Included in this allocation is R165 million to address sewer spillage challenges in Emzinoni and Embalenhle (Govan Mbeki); Tekwane South (City of Mbombela) and address sewer spillage as well as refurbishment and internal reticulation in Amersfoort (Dr Pixley Ka Isaka Seme).
The department received R1 551 584 to provide psycho-social services, increase opportunities for early childhood education and deliver social relief benefits to needy families.
A special allocation of R20.2 million is included in the baseline of the department for provision of dignity packs to girl children from poor communities in the province.
“The Department of Social Development is at the coalface of the State’s war against poverty and social injustices,” he said.
A total of R468 461 has been allocated to the Department of Culture, Sport and Recreation in an effort to forge strategic partnerships in taking creative industries in the province to the next level.
Economy, investment and employment
MEC Kholwane said the share of the economy, investment and employment cluster is R7 353 497, which is 15 percent of the provincial budget.
“Accordingly, the Department of Economic Development and Tourism as a thought leader and overseer is allocated R1 198 058 to drive and coordinate the provincial economic growth and development programmes.
“Fifty-three percent of this allocation is made up of transfers to Provincial Public Entities namely, Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency (MEGA), Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) and Mpumalanga Economic Regulator (MER) to fulfil their economic and developmental mandate,” MEC Kholwane said.
He said funds have been reprioritised to assist with the implementation of catalytic projects to support youth and women-owned enterprises in strategic productive sectors.
The special allocation of R320 488 for the implementation of the Mpumalanga International Fresh Produce Market (MIFPM) has been reclassified as capital expenditure from MEGA to the Department of Economic Development and Tourism.
The Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs will receive R1 180 437 while the Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport received R4 987 002.
The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs has been allocated R522 260.
“Provincial Treasury will receive R322 706 to ensure the equitable allocation and optimal utilization of public resources in providing a quality and better life for the more than 4.4 million citizens of the province,” he said.