Johanensburg - Over R700 million has been allocated to the Gauteng Department of Education for this year to alleviate problems of overcrowding in schools, teacher shortages and scholar transport for poor pupils.
Gauteng MEC for Finance Mandla Nkomfe made the announcement when he presented his provincial budget speech in the Gauteng provincial legislature this morning.
Gauteng’s 2013/14 budget is R79.2 billion. Most of this comes from the national government.
Nkomfe said the state’s contribution was R76.9bn in 2013/14, R81.9 bn in 2014/15 and R89.6 in 2015/16.
Gauteng’s own revenue collections exceeded its target for the 2012/13 financial year by R618m. He expected to collect R4bn in 2013/14.
Education gets the lion’s share, followed by health.
These spending patterns have been the same since Premier Nomvula Mokonyane took over in 2009.
Nkomfe said the Education Department would improve the quality of education if it focused on key priorities:
* Consolidating and strengthening interventions to improve the quality of learning.
* Consolidating and sustaining education support services.
* Integrating and strengthening the implementation of the master skills plan with a particular focus on skills development for young people and on the unemployed.
Nkomfe said Gauteng had set aside R352m for the implementation of the Senior Secondary School Intervention Programme this year. It is for the improvement of schools’ performance and Saturday school classes for pupils.
The government allocated R362m for school safety and the fight against drugs and alcohol.
A total of R3.3bn was allocated over the next three years for pupil and teacher support material, and R1.1bn was set aside for the transport of 57 000 pupils over the next three years.
An amount of R585.2m will pay for healthy meals for pupils in no-fee schools, and R311m will go to the Bana Pele programme for school uniforms for pupils over the next three years.
“The programme responds to poverty-afflicted children and offers an integrated package of services, including the provision of school uniforms, while simultaneously empowering communities through job creation.
“Access to education remains one of our major objectives as it also contributes to job creation.
“To this end, education infrastructure is prioritised by setting aside an estimated amount of R5bn over the three years,” Nkomfe said.
He said the department would continue to appoint additional teachers to correct the pupil-teacher ratios. In 2013/14, paying education staff, including teachers, will cost the province R22.1bn; over the three years the extra staff takes the bill to R72.2bn.
“Included in this amount is an additional allocation of R88.4m and R196.6m for the appointment of additional educators in quintile 1 schools for the financial year 2014/15 and financial year 2015/16 respectively,” Nkomfe said.
The government allocated R916m towards early childhood development. The Gauteng Health Department was allocated R27.993bn.
Nkomfe announced that R1.1bn has been allocated over three years to supplement funding for the non-negotiable items that make health institutions functional.
He said that R430m has been set aside for the implementation of the health turnaround strategy in the primary health-care centres.
The government also allocated more than R10.2bn for the fight against HIV/Aids over the three-year period.
He allocated R6.8m to the Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation to help fight HIV/Aids among its affiliate bodies.
Nkomfe also announced that the number of academic hospitals had increased in the province, saying that Helen Joseph, Tembisa, and Kalafong Hospitals were the latest to have been reclassified and assume the status of tertiary hospitals.
He said the Natalspruit and Zola Hospitals would be commissioned before the end of this financial year.
“The department has been allocated an amount of R1.5bn over the next three years to cater for the operational costs of these hospitals.
“An additional allocation amounting to R2.2bn… is earmarked and has been made available for personnel,” Nkomfe vowed.
The government has also allocated R88.6m to the Community Safety Department to fight woman and child abuse, including the rape of children.
A total of R39.8m was allocated to help stamp out domestic violence.
Nkomfe said the provincial government would continue to monitor the implementation of the Co-Created Policing Strategy and Detective 10-Point Plan to ensure that there was a reduction in priority crimes.
“These strategies have made a significant input in the reduction of priority crimes.
“These two strategies have been jointly allocated an amount of R18.2m over the (period),” Nkomfe said.