KZN budget looks to boost local economy through infrastructure

10 March 2019

KwaZulu-Natal’s infrastructure budget
has been boosted to provide an injection of funds into the provincial
economy, financeMEC Belinda Scott said
on Thursday.

Scott was tabling the 2019/20 Medium Term Expenditure
Framework (MTEF) at the Provincial Legislature in Pietermaritzburg. She
said boosting infrastructure was
one of the ways to address South Africa’s
growth prospects and was in line with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s
State of the Nation Address

“The province is budgeting to spend R13.6-billion in
2019/20, R13.6-billion in 2020/21 and R14.4-billion in 2021/22 on various infrastructure projects,” said

This included both equitable share and conditional grant
funded infrastructure.

 “If we include the
amount budgeted for infrastructure by
Human Settlements where the asset, in the end, does not belong to government,
the total infrastructure spend
increases to R16.8-billion, R16.9-billion and R17.5-billion over the MTEF,”
said Scott.

This was “a considerable injection of funds into the
provincial economy,” she said.

Infrastructure budgets
for the province’s transporthealthand education departments
were R23.7-billion, R6.3-billion and R7.6-billion over the 2019/20 MTEF, said

Besides upgrading of main and local roadstransport had
also set a target of constructing 10 new pedestrian bridges and seven new major
vehicle bridges.

“These structures will provide easier and safer access to
schools, hospitals, clinics and other government facilities, while also
allowing for improved economic activity. Areas where bridges will be built
include Mdloti, Mfule, White uMfolozi and uPongola,” said Scott.

The provincial health department
would be completing the regional 500-bed Dr Pixley ka Isaka
Seme Memorial Hospital
with its infrastructure funding.
R300-million was also allocated for the procurement of the equipment needed
for the facility.

Edward VIII Hospital
Hlabisa Hospital and Addington
 would together receive over R159-million for infrastructure improvements,
with carry-throughs into the 2020/21 budget.

Schools set to receive major upgrades included Zululand’s
Dingukwazi Secondary School (R90-million); Harry Gwaladistrict’s
Pholela Special School (R109-million for the continued construction of
a new school) and Open Gate Special School in uMgungundlovu district, which
would see R59-million spent on major upgrades.

Collingwood Primary School in Umlazi district
would be getting a new school at a cost of R80-million.

Overall, education again
received the largest slice of the provincial budget, taking 41.4% of the pie.
“The budget allocation over the MTEF is R54-billion, R57.7-billion and
R60.9-billion,” said Scott.

The largest share of the education department’s
budget allocation was for personnel, she said.

Furthermore, KwaZulu-Natal’s no-fee learners
currently constituted 75% of the population in public ordinary schools.

The National School Nutrition Programme provided nutritious
meals to 2.3-million learners in 5 729 schools, said Scott. 

Projects relating
to new schools, curriculum support classrooms, laboratories, multi-purpose
classrooms, as well as electrification, sanitation and water will
continue so that basic functionality can be achieved in all 6 175 schools,”
said Scott.

The KZN health department took the second biggest slice of the budget pie, at 34.5%, followed by transport, at 8.3%

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