Earlier this week, Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, delivered his long anticipated Budget Speech, were among other topics he announced increased allocations for social grants, education and health.
In his address the Minister allocated over R30 billion to build new schools and maintain schooling infrastructure. This amount will replace an estimated 147 inappropriate and unsafe schools, and provide water to 352 schools over the Mid-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period.
Addressing the issue of free education, the Minister allocated R33.3 billion to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) for 2019/2020. Bursary spending will increase from R27.1 billion for 2018/2019 to R40 billion for 2020/2021, which is expected to cover over 1.3 million undergraduate students at universities and over 1.5 million at TVET colleges.
“Over the medium term government will spend R111.2 billion to ensure that 2.8 million deserving students from poor and working class families obtain their qualifications at universities and TVET colleges,” added the Minister
He also allocated a two percent per yearly increase on social grants, while the average annual rate will increase from R162.6 billion for 2018/2019 to R209.9 billion for 2021/2022.
A further grants breakdown is as follows:
- Old age grants increase from R1 695 to R1 780
- State old age (over 75) from R1 715 to R1 800
- Disability from R1 695 to R1 780
- Foster care from R960 to R1000
- Care dependency from R1 695 to R1 780
- Child support from R405 to R425
“Over the same period , the number of beneficiaries is expected to increase from 17,9 million to 18.6 million. By 2021/2022 the old age grant will reach 4 million beneficiaries,” added the Minister.
For the health industry, Mboweni proposed total non-interest spending over the next three years of R5.87 trillion across all sectors, and an added R319 million to be allocated to eliminate malaria in South Africa.
“In health we need simple, effective interventions. We need more doctors and nurses. R2.8 billion has been prioritised to a new human resource grant and R1 billion for medical interns. R1 billion has been added to raise the wages of community health care workers to R3 500 per month,” noted the Minister .