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Highlights from Oscar Mabuyane's R82.1 billion 2019 Eastern Cape Budget

Mar 5, 2019
Highlights from Oscar Mabuyane's R82.1 billion 2019 Eastern Cape Budget

The Eastern Cape Budget Speech comes as the curtain closes on the fifth administration that was led by Eastern Cape Premier, Phumulo Masualle, ahead of the 2019 National and Provincial Elections in May.

Eastern Cape MEC for Finance, Lubabalo Mabuyane, on Tuesday tabled an R82.1 billion budget as he delivers his maiden Eastern Cape Budget Speech for 2019 in the Bhisho Legislature, in Bhisho, outside King Williams Town.

The Eastern Cape Budget Speech comes as the curtain closes on the fifth administration that was led by Eastern Cape Premier, Phumulo Masualle, ahead of the 2019 National and Provincial Elections in May.

Mabuyane, as the current African National Congress (ANC) Chairperson in the Eastern Cape, is tipped to become the next Premier.

He gave the Eastern Cape Department of Education a huge chunk of the budget - an allocation of R36.328 billion.

Mabuyane also placed emphasis on improving access to healthcare in the province by allocating R28.189 billion to the Eastern Cape Department of Health.

"When investors knock at our door, they will find a healthy workforce. Men and women in our province are now living longer than they were in 2014," he said.

"Stats SA reporting that life expectancy for females has improved from 62 years in 2011 to 65 years in 2016. While life expectancy for males also improved from 56 years in 2011 to 58 years in 2016."

"We attribute all these phenomenal improvements in our health outcomes to the resourcing of our health facilities with human resources, and provision of essential supplies. Here is how we will continue to improve the health of our people."

He told legislators that the Departments of Health and Education account for a combined 75 percent of the total 2019 budget.

"In this 2019 MTEF, we will ensure beneficiation of local businesses from the Goods and Services Budget we are allocating to the Department of Health and Education through off-take agreements."

Highlights from Mabuyane's R82.1 billion 2019 Eastern Cape Budget Speech

Mabuyane said that through the efforts of President Cyril Ramaphosa, the province received new investments worth a combined R6.4 billion from various companies, which include Nestle, Multi Choice, Aspen, Yekani Technologies and SAB.

"These investments will create jobs for our people and we are also eager to see the participation of black owned SMMEs in the value chain beneficiation of delivering these world class products and services," he said.

"Our thirst for more capital investments is not yet quenched; we will submit an Investment Book to the Presidency with bankable projects targeting the following sectors: agriculture, manufacturing and textile, tourism, energy, oceans economy and the creative arts."

He added that the province's two special economic zones continue to attract large scale foreign direct and domestic investments.

"More than 7 000 workers report for duty every day to service 43 investors in Coega SEZ, and 3 800 workers report for duty every day to service more than 30 investors in East London SEZ," Mabuyane said.

"We are happy to report to this august House that the Department of Environmental Affairs has in the past week granted EIA approval for Phase 1 of the Wild Coast SEZ."

He said that the Coega SEZ had been allocated R90 million while the East London SEZ would get over R1.2 billion this year.

"Without adequate socio-economic infrastructure, our plans to attract investors will not fully materialize. As such, here are the Infrastructure allocations," he described.

"The Department of Public Works to implement among other projects the upgrade of Botha Sigcau Building in KSD, conversion of Mary Theresa Nurses Home into Offices in Umzimvubu construction of Mount Fletcher Cluster Offices in Elundini, extension of Komani Office Park and construction of additional office space at Komani Hospital in Enoch Mgijima."

Mabuyane allocated the Eastern Cape Department of Public Works R2.635 billion and the provinces Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) nearly R3 million.

The Eastern Cape Department of Transport will get R4.974 billion for its projects.

"Human Settlement allocation to address housing and informal settlement challenges in our province," Mabuyane said.

He allocated the Eastern Cape Department of Human Settlements R2.443 billion.

The Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism was allocated R1.481 billion so that it drive the province "towards an inclusive economic growth path that is premised on job creation and SMME beneficiation".

"To address 'the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality' as articulated by Premier Masualle in SOPA, we are setting aside R1.1 billion over the MTEF to stimulate the provincial economy with R339.4 million allocated in 2019/20," Mabuyane said.

While the Eastern Cape Parks & Tourism Agency (ECPTA) was allocated over R215 million, the provincial film industry got a R180 million injection.

The Eastern Cape Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform will get R2.340 billion. 

"We are all in agreement about the potential of the agricultural sector in our province," Mabuyane said.

"Through the Tips for Oscar, NAFCOC has reminded us that there are still SMMEs that have outstanding payments for more than 90 days, resulting in retrenchments and closure of businesses.

"We will roll out a public sector invoice tracking system which will allow SMMEs to submit and track their payments through a user friendly App linked to all government departments in the Eastern Cape."

He said that he had not forgotten about the youth of the Eastern Cape.

"We are investing R1.7 billion in 2019/20 and R5.6 billion over the MTEF for the placement of graduates in internships, doctor’s community service, EPWP and other youth programmes," Mabuyane said.

Meanwhile, the Eastern Cape Department of Social Development is getting R3.020 billion, which "will continue to serve the broader context of social cohesion which is premised on supporting vulnerable groups of our society, such as the older persons, persons with disabilities, youth and women."

Linked to the issue of social ills in our province is the need for visible policing to clamp down on drug dealing and none compliant alcohol traders, he added

As a result, he allocated nearly R106 million to the Eastern Cape Department of Safety and Liaison.

Other departments were allocated funds as follows: The office of the premier will get R973 million; the Provincial legislature will get R542 million; Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs R1.009 billion; Provincial Treasury R441 million; and Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture R983 million.

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