By Sydney Masinga
Lebowakgomo – Limpopo’s Education Department continues to get the lion’s share of the overall provincial budget as the provincial government continues to prioritise education.
Tabling the province’s R48.4 billion 2013/2014 budget in Lebowakgomo on Tuesday, Limpopo MEC for Finance, David Masondo, said education had been allocated 51% of the overall budget, rising from R22.8 billion to R23.4 billion.
“The National Development Plan (NDP) has clearly stated that education and training is a critical foundation for a more productive and inclusive growth. The department of education has the highest share of the provincial equitable share at 51%,” said MEC Masondo.
“This will fund educational priorities such as norms and standards, learner support materials, school furniture and scholar transport.”
The Health Department was allocated the second largest chunk of the budget at R13.076 billion for the recruitment of new doctors and nurses, the fight against TB and HIV, and for buying medicine, among other health priorities.
MEC Masondo allocated R3.521 billion to the Roads and Transport Department for road infrastructure development and to repair damage caused by the recent floods in the province.
The Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs was allocated R2.241 billion, of which R1.324 billion is for conditional grants for housing and human settlements.
Agriculture was allocated R1.525 billion to provide farmer support and better access to affordable and diverse foods and sustainable agrarian reform with small and large scale farmers.
NGOs in Limpopo also received a major boost when the Department of Social Development was allocated R1.377 billion to amongst other things, support broader NGO work, which includes home-baed and community-based care and to also retain and employ social work graduates.
The Department Economic Development, Environment and Tourism was allocated R1.074 billion to conserve nature areas, support SMMEs, cooperatives and tourism.
Masondo allocated R877 million to enable the Department of Public Works to build and maintain public infrastructure and implementation of the Expanded Public Works Programme.
The Office of the Premier and the Provincial Legislature were allocated R323 million and R244 million respectively while the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture was allocated R266 million to build and redistribute material culture through, amongst other things, the building of libraries, archives and mass sport participation.
Masondo allocated R74 million to the Department of Safety, Security and Liaison to continue work in the communities through the community policing forums.
“Those of us who are charged with the responsibility of delivery of key services and a better life clearly need to do better and do so with a greater sense of urgency and seriousness,” said Masondo.
“The message we get from the voices of our communities is that we are making progress, but our people still need their government to accelerate service delivery.” – SAnews.gov.za