‘Time waits for no man’, says Zweli Mkhize on adjusting health budget to R58.4 billion

Health minister Zweli Mkhize said the Covid-19 pandemic has motivated all SA health institutions to rethink, reorganise and reshape their priorities and agendas.

The sum of R58.4bn has been allocated to South Africa’s health budget, with R5.5bn going towards dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Health minister Zweli Mkhize tabled his department’s adjustment budget and policy statement on Thursday, increasing it by just over 5%.

According to Mkhize, the health department had to reprioritise and consider the impact of Covid-19 in its adjustment budget because “time waits for no man”.

Here are key quotes from Mkhize’s address:

No time to waste

“Covid-19 has taught us that time waits for no man. If we are to achieve our infrastructure goals, we need to do so and move with speed.”

Baseline budget

“We are mindful that while we focus on the fight against Covid-19, we have a responsibility to ensure the gains made with our HIV, TB, and other programmes are sustained regardless of the pandemic.

“It therefore gives me pleasure to table the new baseline budget for 2020/20201, based on adjustments, at R58.4bn, with a total allocation of R5.5bn earmarked for Covid-19.”

Covid-19 motivation 

“The Covid-19 pandemic has motivated all SA health institutions to rethink, reorganise and reshape their priorities and agendas.

“In this context, many of SA’s leading research institutions and senior researchers have forged new national and global research collaborations aimed at urgently answering critical clinical and public health questions.”

Under-reporting of Covid-deaths

“We have urged all provinces to report deaths, as guided by the World Health Organisation protocols, so they can be recorded and reported as soon as the information becomes available to avoid the backlog as we have seen in the Eastern Cape.

“This may create a confusing and concerning perception that there is under-reporting of Covid-19 deaths. We will continue to monitor all provinces to ensure the reporting of Covid-19 related deaths is timeously done.”

Spike in numbers 

“The reopening of the economy, which led to the movement of  people in the country, has contributed to the rising numbers. However, I am mindful that our government had to grapple with saving people’s lives and their livelihoods.”

“We want to assure every South African that, as inconvenient and uncomfortable things may be, our intention is to do what is in the best interest of our people.”

By Unathi Nkanjeni 

Eastern Cape horror: delayed figures, hospitals under siege & surge in Covid-19 cases

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