A massive R300m has been set aside for families affected by the Life Esidimeni tragedy who pass a verification process by the Master of the High Court.

The money is to be made available through the Gauteng premier’s office.

This was announced by Gauteng Finance MEC Barbara Creecy on Tuesday when she presented her R132.4bn budget to the Gauteng provincial legislature for 2019/20 financial year.

READ: There are still Life Esidimeni patients missing

Last month, Gauteng Premier David Makhura said families of at least 365 Life Esidimeni claimants had still not been compensated in line with Justice Dikgang Moseneke’s arbitration ruling. He was replying to questions from DA MP Jack Bloom in the Gauteng legislature.

In terms of Creecy’s budget, the Gauteng Health Department will receive a whooping R50.8bn slice of the cake.

Of this, R346m will be used to employ interns, R310m will be set aside for the absorption of community health workers and R17bn will be used to fund goods and services.

The goods and services include the carry-through costs of the R1.6bn per annum commitment made last year to ensure that the department can pay off its accruals.

The budget represented an annual increase growth of 9%.

“We remain on the side of the most vulnerable in our society. Eighty-one percent or R105.6bn of the budget we table today funds government provision of health, education and social services,” Creecy said.

READ: Life Esidimeni victim’s family member says she’ll only be happy “when Qedani Mahlangu is in jail”

Education boost

Second on Creecy’s list of priorities was the education department to which Creecy allocated R49.4bn. The amount included R3.7bn for direct transfers to public ordinary schools, early childhood development sites and special schools, and R2.9bn for the special school sector which caters for pupils who have intellectual and other disabilities.

An amount of R815m has been allocated for e-learning devices and e-LTSM (Learning and Technical Support Materials), which would continue to transform township schools into functional ICT-enabled learning spaces.

Creecy said Gauteng continued to prioritise helping the transformation young people have to make when they enter the workplace from school.

Half a billion rand was set aside in the budget specifically for youth development initiatives. These include R124m for Tshepo One Million and R45.6m for the welfare to work programme which would help 46 160 women, including single mothers, to move from dependence on child care grants to sustainable self-supporting economic activity.

Infrastructure development

Creecy said the provincial government would invest R33.7bn in infrastructure over the next three years.

“Provincial government’s investment in infrastructure is estimated to have added R41bn to the provincial economy over the past four years, created or sustained 265 000 jobs and created 499 000 EPWP (Expanded Public Works Programme) opportunities,” Creecy said.

A total budget of R900m has been allocated to agriculture and rural development, which was expected to be used for farmer support, mainstream urban agriculture, food gardens and agro-processing.

In support of the modernisation of provincial government, the department of e-Government has been allocated R1.4bn for the broadband network and implementation of a common platform for the Gauteng City Region’s e-services.

– News24 wire

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