Over R4bn added to Gauteng’s budget, but big cuts approved for some departments
The health department will receive the biggest share of the increase to pay for a new wage agreement
The budget for Gauteng has been revised upwards by R4.6bn with the department of health taking more than half the additional allocation to cover compensation of employees.
The Gauteng medium-term budget policy statement tabled by finance MEC Jacob Mamabolo in the provincial legislature on Tuesday.
Gauteng's total budget increased by R4.6bn from the R163.5bn allocation in March. The health department received R2.4bn to fund its wage agreement, followed by the department of roads and transport with R1.5bn.
Among the programmes allocated for the department of roads and transport is the gazetting of operating licensing and the new number plates project announced by the premier earlier in 2023. The department will use R280m of the allocation for rehabilitation of roads in Emfuleni local municipality.
The department of social development was allocated an additional R70m for the acquisition of a new building to be repurposed into a shelter for the homeless.
While the provincial budget increased in total, certain departments had their budgets cut to cater for increases for other provincial programmes. Human settlements got the biggest cut, of more than R499m, and the education budget was cut by R62m.
The office of the premier got a R58.6m cut, and the provincial treasury was served with a budget cut of R23m.
Electricity and red tape among priority areas
Mamabolo said the provincial government had initiated a move to address the energy crisis.
“Gauteng has entered into an agreement with City Power, an entity of the City of Johannesburg, to act as the implementing agent in providing residents of the province with power generation solutions such as leveraging renewable technology.
“As part of this memorandum of understanding we are also seeking to support infrastructure systems to ensure a stable supply of water,” Mamabolo announced.
He said the department of infrastructure development was leading an initiative for the installation of rooftop solar solutions in government buildings, prioritising health facilities.
Mamabolo said the provincial treasury had tasked a project manager to analyse the details of reducing the amount of red tape involved in the administration of municipalities.
“We are interested in the details such as the number of days it takes for certain municipal approvals to be made. That is the turnaround time, either in days, weeks or months, it takes to conclude compliance with municipal laws affecting the investment space in our municipalities.
“Once assessments on the ease of doing business in our municipalities is complete, we will embark on wider consultations with members of mayoral committees of finance and co-operative governance and traditional affairs in the province, to decide on a pilot programme on how to cut red tape,” Mamabolo said.
Bringing in revenue
Mamabolo said the provincial government would enhance revenue collection as the Treasury has cut conditional grants and equitable share in the 2024 medium-term period.
Among measures to be implemented is to ensure motor vehicle licence revenue collection is immediately deposited and reflected into the provincial government fiscus.
Other measures include the expansion of smart testing stations to 65, with sites in Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg, Sedibeng and West Rand; improving casino regulation to collect more tax revenue from the facilities; the introduction of nine new Bingo licences as part of a strategy to introduce new players from previously disadvantaged groups; and the introduction of e-commerce that allows liquor traders to view their bills electronically and make payments online through a mobile payment application.
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