Gauteng gets extra R3bn budget

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Johannesburg - The Gauteng budget for 2013/2014 has been adjusted from R76 billion to R79bn, Gauteng finance MEC Mandla Nkomfe said on Thursday.

“In spite of the fiscal constraints that we are facing as government, we fully understand that we must continue to provide effective public services to the people,” he said.

Nkomfe was presenting the provincial medium-term budget policy statement to the Gauteng legislature.

The provincial education department would get an additional R454.7 million due to the rapid increase in pupil numbers in the province.

The provincial health department would get an additional R618.7m.

The provincial roads and transport department was allocated an extra R679m to deal with road maintenance and upgrades and to address the Gautrain's operational requirements.

An additional R37.5m was made available to the office of the premier for preparations towards the 20 years of democracy celebrations.

The Democratic Alliance said the extra money added to Gauteng's budget highlighted poor planning and inefficiencies.

“Nkomfe's past promises to improve spending have failed, as there is still much wastage and inefficiency in the Gauteng provincial budget,” DA caucus leader in Gauteng Jack Bloom said in a statement.

“Credible interventions are lacking to create the vast number of jobs that are needed in Gauteng.”

Bloom said many of the payments should have been anticipated and planned for.

He said that of the money allocated to the health department, R450m was for debts accrued from the previous financial year and R100m was to pay for health professionals to run the new Jabulani and Natalspruit hospitals.

Nkomfe said financial officers and heads of department in Gauteng had to exercise their responsibilities properly and ensure finances were managed in accordance with legislation.

“As government we need to work extra hard to eliminate waste and reinforce good governance.”

MECs should hold accounting officers responsible for all financial matters in their departments.

Nkomfe said that in a bid to root out corruption in the payroll system the province was implementing the Identity Verification System.

This had resulted in savings of more than R3m a month since April.

Investigations were underway to find suspect transactions and ghost workers, he said. - Sapa


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