Cape Town - According to the 2013 Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS), tabled in Parliament on Wednesday, close to 60 percent of provincial spending last year (2012/13) was on staff salaries.
The document suggests this trend is likely to continue going forward.
“Proposed changes to provincial allocations are driven by higher wage costs for the 900,000 public servants employed primarily in health and education, as well as by priorities in infrastructure and social services.”
The MTBPS says a new conditional grant will be released to provinces to fund an occupation-specific dispensation for therapists in the education sector over the next two years.
After the two-year period, the funds will be included in the provincial equitable share, which will be increased over the medium term.
“Additions to the provincial equitable share of R2.5 billion in 2014/15, R4.3bn in 2015/16 and R5.1bn in 2016/17, will help to fund shelters for victims of abuse, as well as the rollout of a new vaccine for human papillomavirus.”
The vaccine - administered to young girls and boys - can potentially reduce the risk of developing cervical cancer.
The MTBPS also highlights changes to conditional grants, which would see “small reductions” to a number of “underperforming grants”.
“These include the comprehensive agricultural support programme grant, the land-care grant, the education infrastructure grant, the school infrastructure backlogs grant, the national health grant and the expanded public works programme grant to provinces,” the document stated.
Provinces would receive funds to hasten the upgrade of mushrooming informal settlements in mining communities.
Money will also be made available to “offset the rising costs of fuel and labour in provincial bus services”.
Overall, provincial budgets are expected to grow from R415.8 billion to R507.8bn over the next three years. - Sapa