JOHANNESBURG – Gauteng Finance MEC Barbara Creecy has reaffirmed the provincial treasury’s commitment to support mental health in the province with a major boost in allocated funds for mentally ill patients.
A total of R893 million has been budgeted for the effective and efficient mental care services in the province for the 2017/2018 financial year, following the deaths of at least 100 patients in the past few months.
Creecy tabled her R108 billion budget in the Gauteng Legislature on Tuesday, with the biggest share going to education, health and social development.
It’s no surprise that the lion’s share of the Gauteng budget has gone to education and health, R40.8 billion and R40.2 billion respectively.
Part of the Health Department’s allocation, however, has gone to mental health care, following the Life Esidimeni tragedy, which claimed the lives of more than 100 mentally ill patients.
This was part of a cost saving initiative by the Health Department.
Creecy says the budget for this year has increased to R893 million but it has nothing to do with cost cutting.
“When we talk about costs-cutting, it has to be what we call non-core expenses. So it’s those expenses which we spend on ourselves as government.”
At the same time, Gauteng aims to achieve the largest infrastructure investment, with R44.4 billion set aside, which will focus on improving roads, building schools and clinics.
(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)