The Gauteng government announced a R4-billion upward revision to its 2020/21 provincial Budget on Thursday, indicating that the increase to R146.4-billion, from the R142.2-billion outlined in March, had been made in response to the need for additional resources to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Gauteng has emerged as the epicentre of the pandemic in South Africa, with some 145 000 official infections by July 22 and 1 156 deaths.
Gauteng Finance and e-Government MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, who presented the Special Adjustment Budget during a virtual sitting of the Gauteng Legislature, said the adjustments were designed to provide a comprehensive response to Covid-19, while safeguarding the implementation of the administration’s Growing Gauteng Together 2030 (GGT2030) strategy.
Provincial departments collectively reprioritised R7.9-billion within existing baselines to accommodate the Covid-19-related expenditure. The reprioritisations arose from savings realised during the national lockdown and delays in the filling of vacant posts.
A total of R5.9-billion has been allocated to the province’s health response, which will focus on the provision of medical and protective equipment, the hiring and remuneration of frontline health personnel and health infrastructure, including the refurbishment of facilities and building field hospitals.
A total of R6.3-billion has been allocated to the Gauteng Department of Education, of which R5.2-billion had been reprioritised internally and R1.2-billion was new money, to meet the resourcing requirements outlined as a pre-condition for the resumption of schooling.
Nkomo-Ralehoko said the provincial infrastructure budget had been increased by 5.3%, from R11.6-billion to R12.2-billion, to meet Covid-19 infrastructure requirements. The budget for health-related infrastructure has been more than doubled from R2-billion to R4.2-billion.
“This budget will be used to provide additional health facilities and refurbish existing ones in response to the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said.