Barbara Creecy. Picture: SOWETAN
Barbara Creecy. Picture: SOWETAN

Gauteng’s departments of health and education have received the lion’s share of the province’s budget for 2019/2020, with each getting more than a third of the R132.4bn allocation.

Gauteng finance MEC Barbara Creecy said on Tuesday that the departments of health, education and social services will get 81% of the province’s budget. This was Creecy’s last budget before the May 8 2019 general elections.

The total budget for health is R50.8bn, while education received R49.4bn, with R5.5bn allocated to social development.

The department of health’s budget includes R30bn for the wage bill. R17bn has been allocated for the procurement of goods and services, which includes carry-through costs of an R1.8bn per annum commitment made by the department to pay off its accruals.

About R150m has been allocated to obtain suitable office accommodation for the department following the Bank of Lisbon building fire in the Johannesburg CBD in 2018, which led to the deaths of three firefighters.

The department of health has come under fire in recent years, especially after the Life Esidimeni tragedy in which more than 140 psychiatric patients died after being removed from Life Esidimeni’s care. In March last year last year, retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke ordered the provincial government to compensate the families of the 144 patients who died after being placed in the care of unregistered and/or incompetent NGOs.

About R300m was budgeted for this purpose via the office of the premier for 2019/2020.

Creecy said more than R20bn has been raised in own revenue over the past five years in the province — the most raised by any of the nine provinces.

“[It] goes a long way to explaining why we have managed to keep the province’s finances afloat,” Creecy said in her budget address.

She said these resources have been important in keeping teachers, social workers, nurses and doctors “in our frontline facilities” and that the province has been able to protect its citizens from budget cuts in health, education and social services.

The province has also budgeted R1.6bn for the department of social development to lead the drive for economic transformation and recovery. It has also budgeted more than half a billion for youth development in the province, which includes R124m to its Tshepo One Million programme.

Gauteng Finance MEC, Barbara Creecy joins Business Day TV for a perspective on the province's finances.