Question NW1080 to the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

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19 June 2020 - NW1080

Profile picture: Bozzoli, Prof B

Bozzoli, Prof B to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

(1)What is the total expected reduction in his departments’ budget by Treasury in light of Covid-19; (2) whether the reduction will be spread evenly throughout his department; if not, (a) why not and (b)(i) how will it be distributed between programmes and entities and (ii) on what principles?



(1) The Department did not receive official communication from National Treasury on the budget reductions. The Department is waiting for the announcement to be made by Parliament.

(2) Not applicable


(1) R1 759 479 000. This amount is made up of R1 435 304 000 budget cuts and R324 175 000 for COVID-19 initiatives.

(2) The reduction will not be spread evenly throughout the department.

2 (a) Programmes have different budgets for implementing different initiatives.

2b (i)

Budget cuts per programme


Compensation of employees R’000

Goods and services R’000

Transfers and subsidies





18 995

22 987


41 982

Technology Innovation

5 769

9 978

50 000

65 747

International Cooperation and Resources

5 946

14 422

14 925

35 293

Research Development and Support

4 339

6 055

926 144

936 538

Socio-economic Innovation Partnerships

4 951


55 375

60 326


40 000

53 442

1 046 444

1 139 886

Budget cuts per entity (Parliamentary Grants)



Technology Innovation Agency

45 586

South African National Space Agency

18 209

National Research Foundation

96 610

Council for Science and Industrial Research

99 765

Academy of Science of South Africa

2 790

Human Science Research Council

32 459


295 418

(ii) Principles


  • There is an anticipated savings on compensation of employees’ budget as the filling of vacancies will delay due to the pandemic.
  • Savings to be realized from goods and services budget due to the lockdown, for example: Travel, events, etc.
  • Various factors were considered under transfers and subsidies budget:
    • Projects that would not be feasible to implement due to the pandemic, for example: infrastructure, science awareness, etc.
    • Projects that were allocated funds during the last quarter of the financial year and the prospect of spending the new money (2020/21) were slim.
  • There are however other areas where the cuts will have a negative impact, these include; the Human Capital Development. The department proposed these cuts in order to reach the 20% stipulated by National Treasury. These challenges were presented by the department to the National Treasury.


  • 10% cut was proposed on the entities’ parliamentary grants across the board.
  • A lesser percentage (as opposed to 20% requested by National Treasury) was proposed in order to minimize the impact of the cuts to entities.
  • Entities are also expected to make some savings on areas where there will be no or minimal activities during the lockdown.
  • Based on the above, the department is satisfied that the proposal is fair, however it was noted that entities which rely on external revenue might be negatively impacted as the revenue has declined substantially due to the prevailing conditions.
  • The department has discussed the entities that are affected by decline of external revenue with the National Treasury for possible amnesty.

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