David Maynier, Western Cape MEC for Finance and Economic Opportunities. Photo: Malherbe Nienaber
- The Western Cape government has a R2.17 billion “war chest” to defeat Covid-19 in the province.
- Finance MEC David Maynier revealed during his budget speech that each Covid-19 wave has cost the province R1 billion so far.
- The province has also set aside money to buy vaccines against the virus even though it is not clear yet how it will do this.
The Western Cape government says it has a R2.17 billion “war chest” to defeat Covid-19 in the province.
Finance MEC David Maynier also revealed that each Covid-19 wave had cost the province R1 billion so far.
“Last year this time not a single case of Covid-19 had been identified, but the very next day the first positive case of Covid 19 was identified,” Maynier said while presenting the province’s budget in the legislature on Tuesday.
“We face a choice: defeat the virus or be defeated by the virus,” he said.
The R2.17 billion “war chest” comes amid 11 363 deaths linked to Covid-19 complications so far in the province.
Out of that budget, R325.6 million has been allocated for the rollout of up to 5.1 million vaccines in the Western Cape.
The department also allocated R75 million for the procurement of vaccinations which may be spent for up to 500 000 single shot vaccines for the province.
R832 million would be used to respond to a possible third wave, which included spending on rapidly expanded testing, personal protective equipment, oxygen and critical care capacity.
Maynier said there was “significant and unprecedented” uncertainty regarding Covid-19, particularly how many vaccines the province would receive from the national government and if they would be a single or double shot.
The province also did not know which vaccines would be cleared for use.
A further R20 million was budgeted for communications on the benefits of being vaccinated.
The Western Cape’s Covid-19 “war chest” was made up of the R1.08 billion contribution against Covid-19 from national government, matched with a R1.09 billion contribution by the Western Cape.
“The fact is that we remain locked in a struggle between a virus and a vaccine, and we must not let the virus win,” said Maynier.
Maynier said R100 million would also go towards providing humanitarian relief for people who had lost their jobs and could not make ends meet.
In the meantime, still on the health front, the province made R99 million available over the medium term for the home delivery of chronic medication and R10 million over the medium term to provide tele-health services.
Maynier said the province planned to spend R72.3 billion in 2021/22, R72.6 billion in 2022/23 and R72.7 billion in 2023/24.
However, he said the national government “owe a lot of people a lot of money” and was cutting expenditure to reduce the fiscal deficit to pay down staggering levels of national debt in South Africa.
Good party MPL Brett Herron welcomed the amount set aside to deal with Covid-19, but felt that Maynier provided no details on how the province would procure vaccines.
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