Education gets huge boost

Sakhile Mokoena

Sakhile Mokoena

Mpumalanga has allocated the bulk of its yearly budget to the provision of quality education.

Presenting the provincial budget for 2007-08 this week, finance MEC Mmathulare Coleman said the Department of Education would receive a whopping R7,9billion of the province's R16billion budget.

"The money would be used to recapitalise further education and training colleges, public primary schools and for food security and nutrition," said Coleman.

Education MEC Craig Padayachee said the bigger budget meant more work for his department.

The incorporation of Bushbuckridge into Mpumalanga last year has resulted in 244 more schools for the province.

This drastically affected the provision of scholar transport for Mpumalanga.

Shortly after the incorporation, the education department had to increase its transport budget from R83million to R145million.

But the money was still not enough, according to the department.

This high increase led to an investigation of possible fraud by bus companies last year.

Coleman said the province's budget this year was 26,6percent more than last year's.

The Department of Health received R3,595billion to be used to recruit more professional health workers and improve emergency health services.

Roads and transport received R1,4billion.

Safety and security was allocated R44million to improve school safety initiatives and for the 2010 integrated safety plan.

The Department of Culture, Sport and Recreation received R156million to develop its archive centre, public viewing sites and fan clubs for the 2010 World Cup.