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Debate on the 2018 Division of Revenue Amendment Bill by Hon Manana

13 November 2018

Honourable Speaker,
Honourable Members,
Distinguished Guests,

Let me start-off by extending my greetings to all South Africans who entrusted us with the responsibility of representing their interests, hopes and aspirations. Today's debate is an opportunity to identify and support key budgetary interventions that respond to socio-economic needs of our people.

The Standing Committee on Appropriations has carefully examined the 2018 Division of Revenue Amendment Bill; it warms my heart to report that the proposed adjustment to the 2018 Division of Revenue Act are progressive and pro-poor. The budget continues to prioritise social programmes including education, health, human settlements, water and sanitation and social welfare programmes. -'united action (of all races) in struggle against all injustices that flow from the policies of apartheid and segregation" (Mandela, 1953). It is critical that we highlight key adjustments and interventions in these critical sectors.

Health Sector

Hon. Members, majority of our people depend on public health facilities for their well-being. According to the General Household Survey, seven in every ten households use public health facilities rather than private hospitals. The survey further show that in a population of over 56 million, only 16.9 per cent South Africans had medical aid cover in 2017. A majority of households with medical aid are concentrated in the two pre-dominantly urban provinces of Gauteng and Western Cape at 25 per cent. Pre-dominantly rural provinces fall far below with Limpopo having the lowest rate of 8.3 per cent followed by Eastern Cape and KZN at 9.9 per cent and 12.6 percent respectively. Hon Members, this is a direct reflection of a deeply unequal society, and it is against this context that we support the following allocations and interventions in the division of revenue bill:

  • R199.5 million is allocated to Kwazulu-Natal to repair 14 hospitals damaged by heavy storms and floods.
  • R42 million is converted from the NHI indirect grant (health facility revitalisation component) to the direct health facility revitalisation grant for dealing with emergency maintenance backlogs in the Northern Cape.
  • An amount of R154 million is added to the NHI Grant, of which R166 million will go towards the procurement of medical equipment as well as the planning and design of the proposed new academic hospital in Limpopo.
  • The Appropriations Committee welcome the introduction of the human resource capacitation component of the NHI Indirect Grant, of which R350 million will help to address the critical shortage of human resources in the health sector.
  • We also welcome the beds and laundry services component of the NHI indirect grant. This will ensure that patients do not sleep on the floor due to lack of facilities.

Human Settlements Sector

Government has done a lot to provide human settlements to our people. The reality is that South African has a high rate of urbanisation, hence the growth of informal settlements. According to the General Household Survey, 13. 6 per cent of South Africans live in informal dwellings. Hon. Members urbanisation is democracy in action! The Constitution guarantees all of us freedom of movement, and reminds us that South Africa in its entirety belongs to everyone. Therefore, we applaud the decision to ring-fence funds for upgrading of informal settlements in Human Settlements Development Grants.
We also welcome the additional R100.1 million to the Human Settlements Development Grant for the repair of over 3280 subsidised houses damaged by floods in Kwazulu-Natal and 3 houses damaged by fire in Knysna, Western Cape.

Social Development Sector

Under Social Development, the Committee welcomes the new Provincial Disaster Recovery Grant with a budget of R16.3 million for responding to the damage caused by heavy storms and floods in KZN. Of this budget:

  • R11.3 million goes towards repairing 10 buildings managed by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and;
  • R5 million is for the repairing and rehabilitating 10 buildings managed by the Department of Social Development.

Education Sector

We welcome the additional allocation of R175.8 million to the Education Infrastructure Grant to help schools damaged by disaster in the KwaZulu Natal and Western Cape. The Committee is pleased that R150 million will help to repair and rehabilitate over 87 schools in KZN and the remaining R25.8 million will repair and rehabilitate 22 schools in the Western Cape Province.

It is encouraging to learn about improved performance of the Schools Infrastructure Backlogs Grant, hence the additional allocation of R800 million for the completion of school infrastructure projects. This allocation is about the future of our children. We agree with the Minister; our children do not deserve to learn in unsafe schools.

President Ramaphosa said "Both the Minister of Finance and I are keenly aware of the need to demonstrate to the people of South Africa that the tax revenue collected from their hard-earned income is being used wisely, productively and for its intended purpose. We remain accountable to the people of this country".

Hon, Speaker, Hon. Members, distinguished guests; I wish to close reminding everyone listening that, the wealth cannot leave in an island surrounded by a sea of poverty. We all breathe the same air. We must give a chance to everyone, at least a basic chance.

I thank you!

     
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