The Minister of Finance presented the national 2012 budget on 22 February 2012. The budget holds promise for the support and development of women and children through the dominant infrastructure development plan and the continuation of education, health and social assistance as the largest categories of expenditure.
The budget is aligned with the planned national Vision 2030 in its focus on (1) Public Sector Infrastructure development, (2) benefitting emerging farmers and land reform beneficiaries, (3) expansion of employment programmes, and (4) Improvements in further education and training.
A substantial investment will be made in infrastructure development. The Minister noted that infrastructure development has been held back by lack of capacity and under spending in the past, as well as by cost over-runs. Various measures have been put in place to address these barriers, including ongoing monitoring by Treasury, and a policy that where funds are not spent, there is a risk that the relevant agency will lose it. Other measures include a Cities Support Programme and a Municipal Infrastructure Support Programme focussing on rural municipalities’ capacity.
An extra R 4.8 billion has been allocated to the Expanded Public Works Programme. This will go to expanding the community work programme and the National Rural Youth Service Corps.
increase to approximately R 29 billion in 2014/15 with an additional 18.8 million going to learner subsidies at no-fee schools and increased access to Grade R. R 235 million will be spent on extending the national assessment system.
Health and social protection
An extra R 12.3 billion will be allocated over the next 3 years. Spending will focus on hospital infrastructure, the comprehensive HIV and AIDS treatment and prevention programme and expanding health professional training.The National Health Insurance plan will be phased in over a 14 year period beginning in 2012/13. Funding options include an increase in VAT, a payroll tax, a surcharge on individual taxable income, or some combination of these. A discussion paper on the funding of the NHI will be released by the end of April 2012.
R 1.4 billion has been allocated for investments in early childhood development programmes and community-based Isibindi childcare and protection programme.
The Old-Age, Disability and Care Dependency Grants will increase by R60 per months; the Foster Care Grant by R 30 per month; and the Child Support Grant will increase to R280 per month.
Justice and security
R 300 million will go to court infrastructure and additional funds will secure an increased capacity in the offices of the Public Protector and Independent Police Investigative Directorate.
The proposed youth employment incentive is under discussion at Nedlac with the optimistic view expressed that concerns about the initiative can be addressed in its design and implementation.
Social wage spending
The average value of the social wage for a family of four is R 3,940 per month.
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