SA budget votes start today

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Cabinet ministers will today begin unveiling plans on how they will utilise the money allocated to their departments by Finance Minister Pravin Gordan in his national budget earlier this year. The Budget Vote presentations will start in Cape Town today with Economic Development Minister Ibrahim Patel expected to tell Members of Parliament how he intend spending the R549 million allocated to his department for the 2011-2012 financial year.

Patel’s Economic Development Department is crucial to government’s job creation plans and the minister is expected to thrash out details of how he plans to contribute to employment creation including strategies to promote green economy, the state BuaNews agency reports.

Government wants to half unemployment by 2014 and to achieve this at least 700 000 jobs would need to be created each year. Officials say for South Africa to seize opportunities in the green economy, government needs to adopt a cross-departmental approach with departments such as public works; environmental affairs, energy, higher education and transport, among others, all expected to play a crucial role.

The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has committed R25 billion to new investments in South Africa’s “green economy” over the next five years and Patel is expected to explain how the state plans to attract investors in this sector of the economy.

Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma’s address is expected to focus mainly on service delivery related to the provision of documents such as IDs, passports, birth and death certificates as well as the effective delivery of immigration, the department said. It said the department’s budget vote will be preceded by the re-opening of the Barrack Street Home Affairs office following a complete refurbishment and remodelling in line with the department’s new “corporate model”.

Dlamini Zuma recently acknowledged that challenges in providing immigration services such as delays in processing temporary residence permit applications were having a devastating effect on personal lives while also threatening foreign investment. The minister is expected to outline how she plans to speed up its turnaround strategy with the department’s R5.4 billion budget.

Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula and Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula are also expected to table their department’s budgets today. Last month, Correctional Services National Commissioner Tom Moyane said as part of its five year strategic plan, the department would make significant improvements in strengthening internal controls and improve rates of conviction of officials charged for fraud and corruption from 84 percent to 92 percent by 2015/16.

He said to strengthen internal controls no major expenditure will be undertaken on any project without a proper business case to avoid historical pitfalls of hasty decisions to expend significant funds on poorly thought through projects.



The department has also committed to ensure that over 16 500 additional bed spaces are delivered within the next five years with 12000 coming from four PPP correctional centres and several smaller projects of revamping the existing old facilities planned to be finalised within five years.