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Budget Speech 2015

Health and social protection



Honourable Speaker, expenditure on health and social protection will continue to grow steadily, contributing to better life expectancy and household income security.


Health spending will reach R178 billion in 2017/18. We have seen a marked reduction in child mortality over the past five years, supported by improved access to antenatal services.


Our antiretroviral treatment programme now reaches 3 million patients. The mother-to-child transmission of HIV has decreased from 20 per cent a decade ago to 2 per cent last year, and is expected to decline further over the period ahead.


In this budget, R1.5 billion is shifted from provincial budgets to the national Department of Health to enable the National Institute of Communicable Diseases to be directly funded. This will be offset by lower tariffs for services provided by the National Health Laboratory Service. Port health services have also been shifted from provinces to the national department.


The Office of Health Standards Compliance has been listed as an independent legal entity with a budget rising to R125 million in 2017/18.


Under Minister Motsoaledi’s direction there has been progress over the past year in preparing for the transition to a National Health Insurance. A discussion paper on financing options will be released shortly by the National Treasury, to accompany the NHI white paper.


Honourable Speaker, I have also agreed with Ministers Dlamini and Oliphant that we will jointly publish the long-outstanding discussion paper on social security reform. Both health insurance and social security are vital concerns of all South Africans, and we look forward to public debate and engagement between stakeholders.


Social grants play an important role in protecting the poorest households against poverty. Social assistance beneficiaries numbered 16.4 million in December 2014. In order to accommodate the growth in numbers, the budget proposals include an additional R7.1 billion on the Social Development vote.


Fellow South Africans, I am also pleased to announce adjustments to monthly social grants with effect from 1 April:


1)        The old age, war veterans, disability and care dependency grants will increase by R60 to R1 410.


2)        Child support grants increase to R330.


3)        Foster care grants increase by R30 to R860.


In consultation with the Department of Social Development and taking into account consumer price inflation, we will review the possibility of further adjustments to grant values in October.