Cape Town — Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has announced a massive expenditure plan that will be anchored by the National Development Plan (NDP).
Tabling the 2014 Budget in Parliament on Wednesday, Minister Gordhan announced that government's spending will be R1.25-trillion for the 2014/15 financial year.
He said consolidated non-interest spending will increase to R1.3-trillion by 2016/ 17 - an increase of about 2% per year over the next three years.
Education will get the lion's share of the pie, with an estimated allocation of R254-billion, followed by health (R146-billion), while R144-billion will go towards social protection.
Some R143-billion will go towards housing and community amenities, while R57-billion will be spent on employment and social security programmes.
When tabling the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement in October, dubbed the mini-budget, Minister Gordhan warned that abusing public finances and resources was harming governance, and implemented austerity measures for top executives relating to expenditure, travel and accommodation.
He also set a debt ceiling for all government expenditure in a bid to decrease the budget deficit.
Minister Gordhan also cautioned against abuse, saying the successful implementation of all government plans relied on sound discipline, hard work, cooperation and sustained improvements in productivity - both in the public and private sectors.
"Our present circumstances oblige us to live and spend modestly and keep a careful balance between social expenditure and support for growth.
"And so in framing the 2014 budget, Mr Speaker, we have reprioritised expenditure within the overall ceiling set in the October Medium Term Budget Policy Statement. The budget deficit will steadily decline over the period ahead.
"Mr President, the next administration will inherit sound public finances, a platform for implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP) and a framework for collaboration with all stakeholders in driving social and economic transformation forward," he said.
Government spend highlights
To boost job creation, government will continue to build on industry support.
Government aims to create 6 million work opportunities by 2019.
About R10.3-billion will go towards manufacturing development incentives, while R15.2-billion will be set aside for economic competitiveness and support packages for businesses. A further R3.6-billion has been allocated for job creation at special economic zones.
Spending on education and training will be higher than any other category. Over the next three years, R78-billion will go towards university subsidies while R34.3-billion will be spent on building schools.
Government will continue to invest in infrastructure to improve people's lives, and will spend R11-billion in 2014 for new rolling stocks and for upgrading the signalling infrastructure.
To ensure a healthy South Africa, government will spend R77-billion on primary healthcare services and a further R240-billion on public hospitals.
During the debate on President Jacob Zuma's State of Nation Address (SONA), Health Minster Aaron Motsoaledi announced that a new vaccine, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), would be introduced to prevent cancer of the cervix.
A total of R600-million has been allocated for the roll-out of this vaccine, and young girls from primary schools will be vaccinated from next month.
To bolster the fight against HIV and Aids, R1-billion will be allocated to the pandemic's conditional grant in 2016/ 17 to sustain the roll-out of antiretroviral treatment. A total of 2.5-million people are currently under treatment, and 500 000 new patients are expected to join the programme each year.
As the country awaits the full implementation of the National Health Insurance, R19.3-billion will be spent on refurbishing clinics and hospitals, while R1.2-billion will be set aside for contracts of general practitioners.
To bolster housing, six metros have been targeted for a new grant of R300-million per year to build their capacity to plan for integrated human settlements.
To this end, government has set aside R899.2-million in 2014/ 15 for provinces to upgrade sanitation infrastructure.
Over the next two years, R1.9-billion will be spent on eradicating the bucket system and R15.4-billion is for regional bulk infrastructure over the next three years.