National Treasury has set aside R21.5 billion for COVID‐19‐related healthcare spending for health and frontline services, it was announced by the Finance Minister Tito Mboweni when he delivered the Supplementary Budget on Wednesday.
The budget was necessitated by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that government would spend R500 billion to support the economy’s resuscitation following the outbreak of the Coronavirus.
“[The budget] also proposes a further allocation of R12.6 billion to services at the frontline of our response to the pandemic. Allocations have been informed by epidemiological modelling, a national health sector COVID‐19 cost model and our experiences over the past 100 days,” Mboweni said.
This money, Mboweni said, partly supports increased screening and testing, allowing government to further open the economy.
“We have successfully increased our COVID‐19 bed capacity to above 27 000; identified 400 quarantine sites with a capacity of around 36,000 beds across the country and deployed nearly 50,000 community health care workers to screen millions of South Africans.”
South Africa has already tested over 1.3 million people.
Provinces, reveals the budget, will add at least R5 billion for the education catch‐up plan, social welfare support for communities and provision of quarantine sites by Public Works Departments and responses in other sectors.
The Minister saluted healthcare and essential service workers for their bravery in leading the fight.
Tariffs have been agreed with private hospitals to supplement public sector capacity.
Additionally, the President-initiated Solidarity Fund has augmented government’s efforts to procure medical and personal protective equipment.
“We thank all those who have made much needed contributions to the fund. These examples show that working together with the private sector with a common purpose, we can get stuff done. We will use these lessons to re‐energise public‐private partnerships,” he said.