Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. PHOTO: Phando Jikelo/ANA

PRETORIA – President Cyril Ramaphosa is focused on addressing the “urgent and pressing matters” bedevilling South Africa’s education and health sectors, newly appointed Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said on Wednesday.

“The largest allocations in the medium-term are for education, health, social development and community development," Mboweni said in his maiden medium term budget policy statement to Parliament. 

"Together, these four areas will receive more than 60% of non-interest expenditure."

“Nobody should learn in a school that is unsafe. Our children must have access to adequate sanitation. We have committed to eradicating pit latrines at schools," he said.

"The president has directed that there is a plan to ensure that all schools have safe and appropriate sanitation.  We will ensure that female learners in schools have access to sanitary pads. Several provinces have already taken the lead in rolling out the provision of free sanitary pads in schools.”

Mboweni said funds would be added to the provincial equitable share to further this objective.

He emphasised that access to health care services was enshrined in the South African Constitution and in the Bill of Rights.

“We will continue to work closely with the national department of health and other role players to ensure that the gradual phased implementation of National Health Insurance is adequately financed. We are immediately reprioritising R350 million to recruit in excess of 2 000 health professionals into public health facilities,” said the former South African Reserve Bank governor.

“We are further reprioritising R150 million to purchase beds and linen for hospitals where the need is most dire. These two interventions build on the Presidential health summit convened last weekend, which has brought new focus to improving the quality of health care.”

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African News Agency (ANA)