Carol Paton Writer at Large

Higher education was the big winner of the budget, receiving an additional R57bn over the next three years to provide for free university education for poor and working class students. This was the single biggest change to the budget since last February, making further education and training the fastest-growing item in the budget at 13.7% But on the spending side it was poor communities that were the biggest losers, with cuts made to public entities such as the Passenger Rail Service of SA (Prasa) and infrastructure grants to provinces and municipalities savaged. At a provincial level this will mean cuts to school building programmes; the upgrading of school infrastructure; low-cost housing budgets; and the maintenance of provincial roads. At local government level the municipal infrastructure grant is to be cut, which includes spending on the provision of bulk water, local roads and public lighting. Grants for electrification, urban development and public transport were also slashe...

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