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Gauteng's budget bolstered by additional R6 billion

The budget for the new term is just over R95bn, with more than two thirds allocated to health and education.

FILE: Gauteng MEC for Finance Barbara Creecy. Picture: Sapa

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Finance MEC Barbara Creecy has presented the province's budget for 2015 and 2016 which has been bolstered by an additional R6 billion compared to the previous year.

The budget for the new term is just over R95 billion, with more than two thirds allocated to health and education.

Allocations for both the departments have been increased by almost nine percent.

More than R36 billion has been allocated to the education sector, with some of the money earmarked for refurbishment of schools and e-learning.

The budget for health has been increased to more than R34 billion.

Creecy says government managed to hike the two budgets as a matter of priority.

"With the Department of Health, they could do better on their revenue collection and we would be looking at ways to incentivise them."

Creecy says some of this year's funds will also go towards improving high-speed broadband connectivity at schools to improve e-learning with tablets.

At the same time, the provincial government says it plans to close down liquor outlets operating close to schools and churches.

It says this will be done in conjunction with the Department of Education.

MEC Lebogang Maile says legislation clearly states that liquor traders cannot operate near churches and schools.

"We are working with the Department of Education to target those liquor outlets. We can't have liquor outlets operating next to schools."

GAUTENG GOVT SAVES R7 BILLION

The Gauteng government has saved more than R7 billion during the 2014/2015 financial year on non-core areas in various departments.

Creecy says the funds used on venues and facilities by various departments during the previous financial year declined by 21 percent while money spent on administration fees decreased by 25 percent.

Creecy says the R7.3 billion saved will be diverted to sectors most in need.

"While we are talking about improving discipline in government spending, we are absolutely not talking about austerity measures."

Creecy also says 34 of the 37 requests for forensic investigations into various departments have been finalised, but she raised concerns that it takes too long to implement recommendations.