Limpopo govt has ‘already planned’ who takes what from the budget – entrepreneurs

Many hope the large budget will help Limpopo improve, while entrepreneurs believe it cannot so long as the ANC spends on campaigning.

Limpopo Treasury MEC Seaparo Charles Sekoati yesterday tabled a R83.1 billion 2024 Budget which many believe will see the province’s economy improve, while others said it will take a miracle for that to happen – after 40 000 jobs were lost between October and December 2023.

Sekoati said major sectors contributing to the Limpopo economy were mining (with 28.1%), community service (25.1%), finance (17.3%), and trade (13.9%), while construction (1.9%) remained in worrying state.

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The MEC said the construction sector had been failing to bounce back since the effect of Covid, and the manufacturing sector also continued to trade low.

Sekoati said in terms of finalising the 2024-25 medium term expenditure framework (MTEF), all the departmental infrastructure plans were used to inform the final allocation in the budget.

The budget breakdown

He said over the MTEF, the total infrastructure budget for the province stood at R21.6 billion, adding that Limpopo’s 2024-25 infrastructure budget was R7.8 billion – which represented an increase to the 2023- 24 financial year.

Sekoati, who is the longest serving MEC in Limpopo, said education got the fattest slice of the budget at R40 billion for 2024-25, R41.8 billion for 2025-26 and R44.1 billion for 2026-27.

Health received the second largest allocations with R24.6 billion. He allocated R1.7 billion for agriculture, R478 million for Provincial Treasury, while economic development environment and tourism got R1.8 billion.

Limpopo Economic Development Agency (Leda) received R834.6 million. The transfer to Leda includes R561.3 million for the implementation of catalytic projects such as Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone at R417.4 million, and Fetakgomo-Tubatse Industrial Park at R143.8 million.

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Limpopo Tourism Agency got R82.8 million, and Limpopo Gambing Board received R68.5 million.

Transport and community safety was allocated R2.6 billion, public works, roads, and infrastructure received R5.2 billion, sport, arts and culture got R827 million, while cooperative governance, human settlements and traditional affairs got R2.4 billion.

The social development department got R2 billion, provincial legislature got R549.5 million and the office of the premier was allocated R506.1 million.

‘A miracle is needed’

While the ANC in the province hailed Sekoati as having delivered a pro-poor budget that would see the province regaining its economic prowess in the aftermath of Covid, the Forum for Limpopo Enterpreneurs (Fole) believed it will take a miracle for the province’s economy to thrive again.

Fole provincial chair Siviko Mabunda claimed a huge chunk of the money would be channelled to bankroll the upcoming ANC election campaigns.

“They’ve already planned who takes how much from this budget.

“As long as corruption still rears its ugly head, it will take a miracle for the province to get out of the woods of the Covid pandemic,” he said.

“Each year, ANC comrades become richer because those in authority eat with them and the poor get even poorer because no one cares.”