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Gauteng health gets R500m to hire staff for Covid-19

The money has been allocated to the department to address human resources shortages in relation to the Covid-19 response.
The money has been allocated to the department to address human resources shortages in relation to the Covid-19 response.
Image: 123RF/Langstrup

The Gauteng department of health has been given more than R500m to hire staff as part of the province’s Covid-19 response.

This was announced by finance MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko on Thursday when she tabled her medium-term budget policy statement for the 2021/2022 financial year in the provincial legislature, saying that R555.4m has been allocated to the  department to address human resources shortages in relation to the Covid-19 response.

Nkomo-Ralehoko said Gauteng entered the fourth wave on December 1 and since then the province has seen a shocking spike in the number of cases.

“The rate of increases in the number of new Covid-19 cases has been significantly higher in the past month, compared to any period during the pandemic. The new omicron variant that was first detected in our province, has been linked to this rapid transmission.

“The rate of severe illness and hospitalisation due to Covid-19 is also increasing, albeit at a slower rate and the majority of these admissions are not vaccinated against the virus. We encourage all eligible people in the province to get vaccinated against Covid-19,” said Nkomo-Ralehoko.

The SA Medical Association has been complaining since the start of the pandemic that there is a shortage of medical staff which is impeding on the government’s response to Covid-19.

The entire provincial budget increased by R7bn to R149.5bn, which is also aimed at strengthening economic recovery.

A total of R86m was reallocated from a surrendered surplus funds towards the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP) programme of contract finance to small businesses.

About R114.4m which was underspent in infrastructure projects is allocated towards the Tshwane Special Economic Zone infrastructure expansion which is expected not only to boost manufacturing but provide much-needed jobs.

The GEP also received R10m as its seed capital towards the establishment of the retail support fund. This fund is aimed at transforming the retail sector in the townships by ensuring inclusion of local businesses in the value chain.

The department of education received R378m for the purchase of personal protective equipment.

The community safety department received R8.3m which includes R3.2m for stipends paid to patrollers on behalf of the Gauteng department of human settlements and R3.8m for the agreement with SA National Roads Agency for the provision of law enforcement agencies to enforce traffic laws.

All departments received increases in their budgets with the exception of roads and transport, provincial treasury, sport, arts, culture and recreation, and infrastructure development.

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