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Gauteng budgets R3bn extra for public wages

Siviwe Feketha Political reporter
Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko
Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko
Image: Antonio Muchave

Gauteng finance MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko has announced an injection of just over R1bn towards government's youth employment initiative as she tabled the provincial administration’s R149.5bn adjusted budget on Thursday.

The mid-term budget saw an addition of R7bn to the R142.5bn budget Nkomo-Ralehoko tabled in March, with R3bn of the new money directed towards public sector wage settlement.

“This shows that as a government we care about the plight of our workers in these difficult times," Nkomo-Ralehoko said.

About R1.2bn has been allocated for the presidential youth employment initiative, of which R1.1bn will be directed towards the basic education youth employment initiative which is aimed at recruiting unemployed youth into the education sector.

The office of the premier was allocated R14.9m to fund payments for mental healthcare users, while the e-Government department received R79m.

Nkomo-Ralehoko pointed out that the economic setback and gloomy outlook imposed by the effect of Covid-19 pandemic had undermined the progress made by the provincial economy, which had increased its GDP from R1.1trn in 2017 to R1.2trn in 2019.

“In 2020, Covid-19 brought reduced demand in all trading partners and the need for lockdowns to slow the spread of the disease. These combined factors reduced the province’s GDP-R to R1trn, a fall of 6.8%,” she said.

She said all Gauteng municipalities had recorded negative growth rates, with the Sedibeng district being the hardest hit in 2020, falling by 7.8%, but indicated that the municipality was expected to record recovery in 2021.

Nkomo-Ralehoko said the provincial government had battled to increase its own revenue due to the economic climate.

“The updated estimated revenue of R3.7bn over and above the baselines, is projected over the 2021 MTEF [medium-term expenditure framework],” she said.

As part of the economic response, Nkomo-Ralehoko said the provincial government had focused on public/private partnerships, infrastructure development and SMME and township enterprise empowerment.

The infrastructure budget has been adjusted to R11.1bn, of which R10.6bn would be directed to  human settlements, health, education, and roads and transport.

According to Nkomo-Ralehoko, a total of R114.4m was reallocated for technical adjustments from underspending infrastructure projects towards the Tshwane special economic zone to boost manufacturing and job creation.

“A total amount of R86m is a reallocation from surrendered surplus funds towards GEP programme on contract financing to support SMMEs. A total of R366m from internal reprioritisation of underspending infrastructure funding towards Gautrain Management Agency patronage guarantee shortfall,” she said.

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