Covid-19: Mpumalanga Govt announces approval of R1.6bn for 3 departments

Covid-19: Mpumalanga Govt announces approval of R1.6bn for 3 departments
GRAVY TRAIN: Following last month's R287m budget approval by the Mpumalanga government towards the Covid-19 relief effort, a further R1.6bn has now been approved and interestingly the money will go to only 3 departments. PICTURE BY George Herald

It is not clear whether the newly announced money includes the R287 million that was announced in June 2020.

The Mpumalanga government has announced they have approved R1.6 billion that will be used in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is unclear whether this new R1.6 billion forms part of the R287 million that was announced by Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane in June 2020.

In June 2020, Tsipane said that Vusi Shongwe’s agricultural department would get R32 million from the approved R287 million “to provide food parcels for residents impacted on by the measures to contain the spread of the virus”.

The duty of providing food parcels to people had always been the work of Thandi Shongwe’s social development department but the new changes in giving the agricultural department this job could be fuelled by factional dynamics in the province, where Vusi sides with Tsipane while Thandi is unclear where she stands as Tsipane and acting ANC chairman Mandla Ndlovu jostle for the position of provincial ANC chairperson that was left by DD Mabuza when he got elected deputy president in Nasrec on 18 December 2017.

SEE HERE: Vusi Shongwe is needed as deputy chair in Tsipane’s slate

Tsipane also announced a huge chunk of that R287 million June amount would go to her ally Norah Mahlangu’s human settlements department – a sum of R183 million “to supply water to communities that did not have the necessary infrastructure”. 

Sasekani Manzini’s health department, another of Tsipane’s ally punted for the position of deputy secretary in her slate, as well as education’s Bonakele Majuba would share the remaining R72 million.

SEE HERE: Mpumalanga Govt announces it will spend R287 million in fight against Covid-19

But now a new announcement will see portions of the R1.6 billion given to Vusi, Manzini, and Majuba’s departments again “to augment the Covid-19 containment measures in the province and expedite the delivery of services”.

It was not disclosed this time how much each of these three departments would get from the announced R1.6 billion but Tsipane said the “apportionment” showed that her government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic “is  reflective of the ward based approach to containing the pandemic whilst ensuring that services continue to be delivered to the people of Mpumalanga”.

“Taking into consideration that the province is facing a water challenge, the department of agriculture, rural development land and environmental affairs is to direct a portion of its allocation to the provision of water,” she said, adding Majuba’s education department will “start with minor maintenance work in schools to ensure effective teaching and learning”. 

“The department of health shall utilise its portion of the funds to continue in its efforts to augment the clinical response to the pandemic,” she said.

(edited by MLM)

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