Hefty investment in KZN provincial road network

The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport will be spending the bulk of its budget to build, upgrade and maintain provincial road networks.

Tabling the Provincial Budget on Friday, Finance MEC Belinda Scott allocated the Transport Department R10 billion, R10.4 billion and R11.1 billion budget over the 2018/19 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).

MEC Scott announced that various projects will be undertaken over the MTEF, including the construction of new gravel roads, new blacktop roads, new cause ways and new pedestrian and vehicle bridges, among others.

The department will continue to mainstream the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) into its work to achieve its target of 58 260 work opportunities in 2018/19. This will be done by increasing its focus on labour intensive construction. In this regard, R200 million worth of projects will be implemented using labour-intensive construction, MEC Scott said.

EPWP projects employ workers on a temporary or on-going basis either by government, by contractors, or by other non-governmental organisations under the Ministerial Conditions of Employment for the EPWP or learnership employment conditions.

The programme provides an important avenue for labour absorption and income transfers to poor households in the short to medium-term.

R3.6b for housing provision

The Department of Human Settlements received a R3.6 billion allocation. The department's main purpose is the provision of housing to various sectors of the population, including rural areas and informal settlements.

MEC Scott said the bulk of the funding is provided via the Human Settlements Development Grant.

She said the continued focus on slums clearance projects remains a provincial priority, and it is anticipated that these projects will provide alternative and permanent housing for 134 601 families currently living in slums.

About 24 522 units are expected to be built over the MTEF, and this include some 4 110 units expected to be completed in 2018/19 financial year, MEC Scott said.

Social Development gets R3.3b

Meanwhile, the bulk of the Department of Social Development's R3.3 billion budget will be put towards the provision of social work practitioners.

MEC Scott said the Social Worker Employment grant will be used to fund the carry-through costs of 166 social workers who were absorbed in 2017/18.

The budget also includes national priority funding allocated for the improvement of the quality of services provided by Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs).

In 2018/19, the department will continue to implement the rationalisation of services rendered through funded NPOs, to ensure that the funding needed for the carry-through costs of the 6% increase given to NPOs in 2015/16 is funded in 2018/19, MEC Scott said.

The Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) each receive R3 billion, R3.2 billion and R3.4 billion over the MTEF.

The bulk of the budget caters for transfers to its public entities, including the Richards Bay IDZ, Dube Trade Port, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, among others.

R2.3b to provide food support

The Agriculture and Rural Development Department receives R2.3 billion, R2.4 billion and R2.6 billion over the MTEF, which will focus on providing support to food insecure communities at subsistence and household food production level.

Through the Food and Nutrition Security programme, the department has budgeted R203 million for interventions including one-home-one-garden, community gardens, one-hectare-one-household, institution gardens, one-household-one-fruit tree (or more), indigenous goats, indigenous chickens, as well as mushrooms.

Allocations for other departments include Public Works with R1.6 billion, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs with R1.7 billion, Arts and Culture with R962.6 million, Community Safety and Liaison with R224.9 million, and Sport and Recreation receives R452 million.

The Office of the Premier receives R787.1 million, while Provincial Treasury receives R650.9 million and Provincial Legislature receives R565.2 million.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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