SA budgets more for education, health

25 October 2012

South Africa has budgeted a total of R234-billion for education in 2013/14 as the country continues to increase funding for the Grade R year and steps up its school infrastructure backlogs programme, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Thursday.

Presenting his Medium Term Budget Policy Statement in the National Assembly in Cape Town, Gordhan said the government would also spend R132-billion on health care next year, including funding for an improved diagnostic test for TB, additional allocations for the state’s HIV/Aids programme, and continued investment in hospitals and health infrastructure.

A total of R136-billion would be spent in 2013/14 on social grants, road accident benefits, unemployment insurance and various social development and welfare services, with the number of social grant beneficiaries expected to rise to 17-million by 2015.

Allocations to provinces

Of the R949-billion in total allocations for 2013/14, 47% will go to national departments, 44% to the nine provinces – which are primarily responsible for the delivery of health and education services – and nine percent to local government.

The provinces will get an additional R366-million to spend on infrastructure in the health sector, an extra R180-million for health infrastructure, and a further extra R186-million to add to the hospital revitalisation grant.

In total, the provinces will get R418-billion in allocations in 2013/14, rising to R478-billion in 2015/16.

Gordhan said changes to the provincial grant programmes over the next three years would include additional funds allocated to the comprehensive HIV and Aids grant to compensate for a reduction in donor funding and to allow for rising treatment numbers.

Funds would also be added to the human settlements development grant for upgrading informal settlements.

Added to this, spending on provincial roads will continue to increase and increased allocations will be made to the community library services grant.

Improving spending by provinces

Gordhan said South Africa’s provinces spent 98.7% or R368.3-billion of their adjusted budget of R373-billion in 2011/12, while national departments spent 97.7% or R498.9-billion of their R510.9-billion adjusted appropriation.

Spending on compensation of employees by provinces accounted for 59% of expenditure in 2011/12.

Though underspending from provinces amounted to R3.5-billion, Gordhan said there were signs of capital spending having improved in the first six months of 2012/13.

He said that, in this period, the provinces had spent R189.2-billion or 48.7% of their main appropriation for the year, while national departments had spent 47.1% or R257.1-billion of their R546.4-billion in allocations over the same period.

He called on provincial governments to modernise their supply chain management systems to deliver projects on time, at the right price and of the required quality.

“We will channel more funding to provinces that adopt transparent systems and demonstrate their readiness to implement projects effectively,” he said.