Minister Mkhize’s R62.5 bln budget announcement overshadowed by SA's COVID woes

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize told Members of Parliament that COVID-19 positive cases have started to rise significantly, and the country may find itself in the third wave if South Africans don’t take extra precaution.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize addressed a virtual meeting on 4 August 2020. Picture: @DrZweliMkhize/Twitter

CAPE TOWN – Health Minister Zweli Mkhize tabled his R62.5 billion budget on Thursday, but this was overshadowed by government’s slow vaccine rollout.

Mkhize told members of Parliament (MPs) that COVID-19 positive cases had started to rise significantly, and the country may find itself in the third wave if South Africans didn't take extra precaution.

He said over the medium term, the department’s most urgent focus was combatting the coronavirus through which R9 billion had been allocated.

But the minister warned South Africans about new variants, saying they should take extra precaution.

“We all have the responsibility to use non-pharmaceutical to protect ourselves or reduce the risk of infection.”

Mkhize’s budget received a mixed reaction from opposition parties.

Opposition MPs like Democratic Alliance’s health spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube said the slow vaccine rollout was one of the greatest displays of government incompetence during the pandemic.

“This poor and criminally slow vaccination programme has to be one of the biggest failures of our government.”

On other budget items, Mkhize said his department would commit R20.6 billion for health facility revitalisation to establish parity in the quality of public and private infrastructure.

Mkhize: COVID-19 cases rising, SA may find itself in the third wave

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