Scroll down for the full 2014 Budget Speech
Basic Education and Higher Education and training
Four hundred and thirty-three schools will be rebuilt over the medium term. These will be funded through the “school infrastructure backlogs grant” which totals R2.9 billion in 2014/15 but will decrease to R2.6 billion by 2016/17. R34.3 billion has been allocated for school infrastructure for the next three years.
The minister called for a “renewed focus on accountability and quality in education” in working towards the NDP. Over the next three years, R19.4 billion will be spent on the NSFAS and R78 billion on university subsidies.
Public health expenditure is expected to grow at an annual rate of 7% over the next three years with R154 billion allocated spend for 2014/15.
The higher rate of growth reflects the centralisation of certain functions and the fact that the phased introduction of NHI is funded principally through a grant controlled by the national department. NHI pilot districts have been established in every province and that in addition to hospital and clinic building and refurbishment programmes, R1.2 billion has been allocated for piloting general practitioners’ contracts. R 43.5 billion has also been budgeted over the next three years for HIV and AIDS programmes.
Rural Development and land reform
Spending on human settlement programmes amounted to R70 billion over the last five years and 590 000 houses were built. The minister says that another 216 000 houses will be built over the MTEF period.
R8.7 billion has been allocated in the budget for the settlement of land restitution claims for the next three years.
The consolidated government expenditure on fuel and energy is expected to increase at an average annual rate of 11.4% over the next three years.
“Further investment in renewable energy and support for the transition to a low carbon economy” is a key part of the NDP according to the minister’s prepared speech.
In order to boost growth and remove constraints over the medium term the minister says the government plans to:
add to the electricity supply to improve the balance between available energy and the amounts required by business and households to thrive. Also to pursue the exploration of shale gas to provide an additional energy source for our economy
Talking about measures to promote economic growth the minister emphasised that the policy of the NDP is to “strengthen the virtuous cycle of growth and development”. Spending plans and tax measures aimed at addressing structural economic challenges include:
Special economic zones are allocated R3.6 billion to promote value-added exports and generate jobs in economically disadvantaged parts of the country. The economic competitiveness and support programme will provide R15.2 billion to businesses to upgrade machinery and increase productivity
Water affairs and Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries
R27.8 billion has been allocated for water supply for housing and communities. But the minster adds that over the next three years, “national government will allocate R105 billion to municipalities for free basic water, sanitation, electricity and refuse removal services”.
“Further expansion of public works programmes” was listed as part of the inclusive growth path towards achieving the NDP in the budget speech.
“The third phase of the expanded public works programme will be launched in April. Over the next five years it aims to create 6 million short to medium term jobs. R10 billion has been budgeted for the employment programme funding for the 2014/15 year. The majority of this will be spent on environmental programmes, the community works programme and the jobs fund.
“The budget review emphasises that these “initiatives play an important role in promoting economic activity among the unemployed”.
The fuel levy is set to increase by 12 cents and the road accident fund levy by 8 cents.
The fuel levy adjustment is in recognition of recent increases in the imported cost of fuel and so is limited to an inflation-related increase of 5.6%. Over the next three years the government will spend R22.9 billion to upgrade commuter rail services.
The majority of this will be spent on upgrading metrorail coaches but there is also an allocation for the modernisation of stations and new locomotives.
R78.1 billion for Police services.
The budget suggests that for the next three years the Department of police will focus on “skills development and management training” and that the “family, child and sexual offences unit will be strengthened”.
Increases in excise duties on alcoholic beverages and tobacco products are proposed, adding 9 cents to the price of a 340 ml can of beer and 68 cents to a packet of 20 cigarettes. Whisky will be increased by R4.80 a bottle.