Planning for Health Debate

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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


4 May 1998

Only five committee members attended the meeting which was to be used as a planning session to discuss the health budget. The budget vote is to take place on 9 June 1998. The Health budget is R21 billion, R14 billion of which is allocated to the provinces. An additional R6 billion in special grants goes out to the provinces where needed, leaving only R1 billion for emergencies. Most activities are budgeted for at the provincial level. Very little was achieved in the meeting as the provinces had not provided their input as yet.

Mr. B.J. Van der Walt (FF - Gauteng) reported that his province had yet to decide on a budget. The Northern Province was also in the same position. The North West Province met on the 28 April and determined that it would require R2 million for staff, R6 million for the AIDS programme, and reported that the Department of Health was very short on its budget.

It was requested that, since provinces get the bulk of the budget, the other provinces provide budget details by tomorrow.

The following were deemed as budget priorities for the provinces: AIDS and TB programmes; R1/2 million leading to R6 million (in the 3rd year) for rehabilitation of hospitals; and clinic-building programmes. It was noted that clinic building is still a priority even though some clinics have been built but have yet to function, due to lack of personnel and problems with medicines distribution.

There was a discussion about how provincial problems should be handled. One member suggested that there should be no confrontation between the provinces and the Central Committee. Another suggested that the chairperson consult with the various committees in the provinces and then the entire committee should try to work together with the chairperson. It was noted that the division of revenue is very difficult to handle and that the Central Committee must know what the provinces have done with their money this year. The three-year budget term should make matters easier.

That the national executive gives a block of money to the provinces so that they can make budget amendments was discussed and it was noted that some of the money allocated for health gets spent in other areas. Provinces are not to reallocate more than 15% without first informing the national government. Difficulties with MPs and in getting information was discussed.

It was determined that the debate on health should be focused and not go on for too long. Provinces are to decide who should speak for them, with women and men getting equal time in the debate.

The next meeting will finalise and table the report on the ID campaign. It was announced that further briefing by Home Affairs will be given in planning for the elections.

Social work is the topic of discussion for the 11 June meeting at 2:00pm.


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