South Africa: MEC David Maynier On Budget for Fight Against Coronavirus COVID-19 in Western Cape

press release

We are on the frontline of the fight against Covid-19, including funding and providing temporary hospital facilities, quarantine and isolation facilities, humanitarian relief, and ensuring that schools can operate safely, with costs expected to exceed R5 billion in 2020/21, in the Western Cape.

When President Cyril Ramaphosa opened the Hospital of Hope at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), he promised that "cost is not the issue" in the fight against Covid-19 in the Western Cape.

However, today the Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, tabled a special adjustment budget, which effectively cut the provincial budget by R113.1 million, at precisely the moment the Covid-19 pandemic is gaining momentum in the Western Cape.

A new Covid-19 component of the HIV, TB, Malaria and Community Outreach Grant, of R552.2 million meant to support the fight against Covid-19, is a drop in the ocean compared to the expected cost which is estimated to exceed R5 billion in 2020/21, in the Western Cape.

What is worse, is that the Covid-19 component of the HIV, TB, Malaria and Community Outreach Grant is not new money and has in fact been funded by cutting expenditure primarily on infrastructure grants, including the Education Infrastructure Grants, Human Settlements Development Grant and the Provincial Roads Maintenance Grant, by R665.3 million in 2020/21, in the Western Cape.

Which amounts to an effective budget cut of R113.1 million, in 2020/21, that falls far short of what will be required to fund the frontline response to the Covid-19 pandemic in the Western Cape.

What this means is that we are effectively on our own in the fight against Covid-19 in the Western Cape.

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