Over R30 billion has been allocated to build new schools and maintain schooling infrastructure, finance minister Tito Mboweni announced in his 2019 budget speech on Wednesday.
He said an additional R2.8 billion was added to the School Infrastructure Backlogs grant to replace pit latrines at over 2,400 schools.
“But to make certain these schools are effective centres of learning will also require parents to be a visible and constructive part in the governance of schools,” the minister said.
He said fully subsidised education and training for the poor was the government’s flagship higher education intervention.
The minister said over the medium term, the government would spend R111.2 billion to ensure that 2.8 million deserving students from poor and working-class families obtained their qualifications at universities and TVET colleges.
Mboweni said in health care, simple and effective interventions were needed, saying the country needed more doctors and nurses.
In this regard, R2.8 billion has been reprioritised to a new human resources grant and R1 billion for medical interns. Another billion has been added to raise the wages of community health care workers to R3,500 per month.
“Finally about R319 million is allocated to eliminate malaria in South Africa,” the minister said.
Mboweni said government continued to focus on supporting people to own their own homes and said funding totalling R14.7 billion over the two outer years had been reprioritised to two new conditional grants for informal settlements upgrading which would enable these households to have access to basic amenities.
Turning to culture and heritage, the minister said the global renown of South Africa’s art and culture was an expression of the nation’s soft power and heritage.
Mboweni said public finance choices should reflect an intention to preserve and add to the cultural canon.
“Officials from the National Treasury and the department of arts and culture will consider proposals for the development of a new national theatre, a new national museum, and also consider financial support for the National Archives, a national orchestra and ballet troupe,” said the minister.