07/03/2017 10:33 GMT | Updated 07/03/2017 10:36 GMT

Gauteng Puts More Money Into Health, Particularly For Mental Health Patients

The province increases spending on mental health by 28%.

Gallo Images / Foto24 / Simone Kley
Gauteng Finance MEC Barbary Creecy, right, with Premier David Makhura, centre, and MEC for Roads and Transport Ismail Vadi.

The Gauteng government has increased its budget for mental healthcare from R700 million to R894.8 million, Finance MEC Barbara Creecy said during her budget speech on Tuesday.

"As provincial treasury, we are committed to supporting the health department in implementing the recommendations of the Health Ombudsman report," she said.

The health department would in this financial year be allocated R40.2 billion, up from the R37.6 billion it received in the 2016/17 financial year. "Improving the health of our citizens and restoring public confidence in our public health system is a major priority for this year."

Creecy said R9 billion would go toward enhancing service delivery outcomes in district hospitals, community health clinics and community health-based centres.

She told the legislature that R7.3 billion would be dedicated toward the province's central hospitals, while R3.7 billion would support treatment and prevention of HIV/Aids and tuberculosis.

She added that the provincial government would appropriate necessary resources for the families of the more than 100 mental health patients who died at various NGOs contracted by the health department, when alternative dispute resolutions were complete.

Commemoration of heroes

In its fight to alleviate poverty in the province, Creecy said the provincial government had allocated R4.2bn to the Department of Social Development to spearhead its drive.

She said funds would be directed toward services for the aged, including R275m for 264 community-based healthcare facilities. Services for children would be allocated R2bn, with half allocated to early childhood development centres.

"R99.7m is allocated for services to people with disabilities, R106m is made available to provide the poorest households with food parcels."

She said the provincial government had set aside R15.7m for the commemoration of heroes of the liberation struggle, including centenary birthday celebrations in honour of former African National Congress president Oliver Tambo.

The province's community safety department received R45m to improve community-centred policing, and R158m to fight crime against women and children.

"This includes monitoring forensic social workers within the criminal justice system and legal experts to strengthen services."

A budget of R374m was set aside for road safety to reduce road fatalities through targeted law enforcement, she said.