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Delivering her budget speech for the 2022/2023 financial year, KwaZulu-Natal Finance MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube highlighted numerous factors impacting the province and developments in the pipeline.
Economic activity in KwaZulu-Natal
According to Dube-Ncube, the provincial economy is estimated to have peaked at 4.2% in 2021. “The real output is projected to retreat somewhat to 1.7% in 2022 and 2023.”
She adds that while KwaZulu-Natal’s economy has shown positive signs of a full recovery, provincial employment remains unacceptably low. “The number of employed people dropped by 5.1% in the third quarter of 2021.”
Additionally, youth unemployment also continued to rise, mainly when measured using the expanded definition, which incorporates discouraged-work seekers.
As a result, approximately 59.3% of young people aged between 15 and 34 are unemployed.
Dube-Ncube pointed out that there are no budget cuts made against the provincial departments in this province.
“Instead, we see the allocation of significant funds back to the province, mainly to assist Education, Health and Social Development with the budget pressures that arose from the budget cuts made in the last budget process.”
She stressed that additions are also made to the provincial fiscus for the 2022 wage agreement.
“We also receive a significant injection of funds into Education with respect to the Presidential Youth Employment Initiative. In aggregate, the Provincial Equitable Share increases by R7.7 billion, R3.8 billion and R2.7 billion over the MTEF.”
According to the Finance MEC, KwaZulu-Natal will continue to invest in infrastructure development with the budget over the MTEF amounting to R18.6 billion, R19 billion and R18.7 billion.
This includes both “equitable share and conditional grant funded infrastructure. A detailed list of all infrastructure projects that will be implemented is contained in the Estimates of Capital Expenditure which I am also tabling today, and this document can also be accessed on the KZN Provincial Treasury website.”
Infrastructure projects planned for the MTEF:
The Department of Transport will spend R25.9 billion over the three years of the MTEF. The department’s infrastructure delivery, maintenance, and transportation service activities are cross-cutting. It is acknowledged that there must be a considerable capital investment in road infrastructure to support the National Development Plan (NDP) and MTSF priorities.
Hence, there is a significant investment in maintenance and repairs, upgrades and additions to existing infrastructure, as well as rehabilitation, renovations and refurbishments to existing infrastructure.
Some of the department’s key projects are:
- Upgrade of Main Road P16-3, located in the Nquthu Local Municipality and the Nkandla Local Municipality.
- Upgrade of District Road D1252 located in the Mqedandaba Village in Estcourt, in the uThukela District.
- Upgrade of Main Road P714, located within the Ilembe District Municipality.
- Upgrade of Main Road P303 located between Makateeskop and Braunschweig in the eDumbe Local Municipality.
- In terms of pedestrian bridges, the Mvubukazi River Pedestrian bridge construction on the Mvubukazi River in Landauville in the Msunduzi Local Municipality will continue.
The existing crossing over the river is used by residents, including school children, to access various facilities such as health, educational and commercial facilities.
- In terms of vehicle bridges, these two projects are planned, among others:
- Construction of the D69-3528 Klein Boesman River bridge, located in the Zwelisha Village in Estcourt.
- Construction of the D1263-3733 Okhombe River bridge in Bergville, in the uThukela District Municipality.
The Department of Health plans to spend R6.7 billion over the MTEF on infrastructure and will undertake several projects, including the following:
- Osindisweni Hospital, where R57 million is budgeted to construct a new multi-drug-resistant TB unit.
- In the King Cetshwayo District, R41 million is budgeted for roof repairs and asbestos removal at clinics in this district.
- At Ekhombe Hospital, R30 million is budgeted for renovations to staff accommodation at this facility.
- Greys Hospital, R29 million is budgeted for roof repairs to the hospital and upgrades to the accommodation facilities for doctors and nurses.
- At RK Khan Hospital, R25 million is budgeted for major electrical upgrades to ageing electrical infrastructure.
- At Northdale Hospital, R20 million is budgeted for roof repairs.
The Department of Education’s infrastructure budget is R9.1 billion over the MTEF.
The department aims to complete five new schools in 2022/23. The construction of new schools is based on the need to address over-crowding, create new teaching and learning spaces, and provide specialist classrooms where required.
Furthermore, the department plans to continue implementing priority programmes, including installing boreholes in 1 158 schools and repairing and rehabilitating 189 storm-damaged schools.
The department further aims to implement various ECD infrastructure projects. The following are some of the planned infrastructure projects:
- In 2022/23, the department will continue constructing new schools. New schools to be built are the iNkosi Mkhuphukeli High School and Sahlumbe High School in the uThukela District. Thembalethu Secondary School and Mthwane Secondary School in the Harry Gwala District.
Cliffdale Secondary School in the Pinetown District and Thembalihle School in the Amajuba District will be erected.
- Various schools will be upgraded, and these projects will commence in 2022/23 and include schools such as Ohlange Secondary school in the Pinetown District and Menzi Secondary School in the uMlazi District.
- There are other schools that will be upgraded where work had already commenced in 2021/22, and these will be completed in 2022/23. These include Dingukwazi Secondary School in Zululand District, Bhekukwazi Secondary School in the King Cetshwayo District, Mathole Secondary School in the Zululand District, Tinley Manor Primary School in the iLembe District, Siphumelele Primary School in the Pinetown District and the Dundee Junior Secondary and Ekucabangeni Secondary Schools in the uMzinyathi District.
- Various special schools will continue to be constructed, namely the YWCA Special School in the Amajuba District and the Tongaat Special School in the Pinetown District. The department will complete the construction of the Inanda Special School in the uMlazi District, which also has boarding facilities.
The Department of Human Settlements will spend R11.3 billion over the next three years on various infrastructure projects to advance sustainable livelihoods through various infrastructure and housing development projects.
This commitment will result in close to 53 000 housing opportunities being made available throughout the province.
During this MTEF, the focus will be on the 20 gazetted Priority Housing Development Areas located in all districts and the eThekwini Metro.
Projects will include the following:
- The Empangeni Mega Housing Project in the uMhlathuze Municipality is an integrated residential development programme where the plan is to deliver 10 000 units. Currently, more than 30% of bulk services have been installed. The department has targeted to service more than 3 000 sites in Phase 2 of the project over the next two years.
- The JBC Housing Development in the Newcastle Municipality is an approved catalytic project which aims to deliver 11 503 units. The primary aim is to formalise the area therefore curbing and eradicating the development of slums and uncontrolled urban sprawling. Bulk services will be installed in Phases 2 and 3 in 2022/23 and will be completed by 2024.
- The Cornubia Integrated Residential Development project in eThekwini aims to deliver 28 000 units in Phase 1. To date, 2 662 units have been completed, and 1 946 transfers have been effected. The tender for Phase 2 is underway for the appointment of a civil contractor. The construction of Phase 2 is anticipated to commence in June 2022.
- The uMlazi Urban Regeneration project in eThekwini aims to deliver 20 000 units. There are various phases and projects in uMlazi and a total of 19 160 houses have been built to date. There are 330 units under construction in the current project and these will continue in 2022/23.
- During 2022/23, a total of 30 informal settlements in the province will undergo Phase 1 upgrading, while 47 will undergo Phase 2 upgrading, which relates to providing services to sites. The department will also be providing temporary housing and/or building material to families affected by recent storm disasters.
Going a step further, Dube-Ncube explained that the Department of Health receives the second highest portion of the provincial budget at 35.3%, with R49.6 billion.
“The bulk of the department’s budget allocation is for the delivery of primary health care services to the approximately 87.4% uninsured population of KZN.”
She further noted the department will continue to ensure that more health facilities, especially those at a clinic level, provide a meaningful service to the people of this province.
The department also plans to increase the average daily operational ambulances from 185 to 225.
Also, in a bid to ensure improved ease of access to health care, the department will continue with the Central Chronic Medicines Dispensing and Distribution (CCMDD) programme, which provides an alternative mechanism to facilitate access to medicines for stable chronic patients.
KZN has 791 940 active patients in this programme. There are 810 external pickup points where patients go to collect their medication.
The department is also working with an NGO, to introduce a Pelebox where patients collect the medication using their ID as a code to open the box. There are already 23 Peleboxes in use, with eight in eThekwini, three in Zululand, four in Umgungundlovu, three in uThukela and five in Amajuba.
According to the MEC, the total number of patients receiving the parcels from the Peleboxes is 13 628.
The department has also introduced a home delivery service using bicycles. The 88 bicycle riders are from the community.
There are nine districts in the province participating in this programme except for the eThekwini district, Umgungundlovu and Amajuba. A total of 48 484 patients are benefiting from this initiative.
In terms of provincial hospital services, the services provided at these facilities are at general specialist level, including specialised rehabilitation services and a platform for training health professionals and undertaking research.
There are 13 regional hospitals, five specialised TB hospitals, six specialised psychiatric hospitals and two chronic/sub-acute hospitals within KZN.
To improve access to specialised services, the department is in the planning phase towards upgrading 4 district hospitals to regional hospitals, thus improving equitable access to services by the rural populations of the uMkhanyakude, Harry Gwala Zululand and uMzinyathi Districts.
Dube-Ncube further highlighted that the Department of Transport receives 8.9% of the provincial budget at R12.5 billion.
The bulk of the department’s budget is for the construction of roads and the provincial road network maintenance.
The department will continue constructing roads to link rural communities to provincial hubs of activity, to achieve the strategic goal of providing access and mobility within the province.
Various projects will be undertaken over the MTEF, including the construction of the Mvuzane River bridge in the Ulundi Local Municipality, construction of the Mbabane River bridge in the Dannhauser Local Municipality, construction of the Mgazi causeway in the uMzimkhulu Local Municipality, construction of the Lufafa pedestrian bridge in the uMzimkhulu Local Municipality, construction and widening of the Buffels River bridge in the Nquthu Local Municipality, among others.
With finances being allocated for several sectors within KZN, what are your thoughts?
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