MBOWENI: TREASURY WILL REDIRECT FUNDS TO DEAL WITH COVID-19

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    Finance Minister Tito Mboweni delivers 2020 Budget Speech in Parliament, Cape Town, on 26 February 2020. Picture: GCIS.

    Finance Minister Tito Mboweni explained that along with the Health Department, Treasury is coordinating a working group to make necessary structural arrangements.

    JOHANNESBURG – As the country contends with the increasing rate of COVID-19 infections, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni on Monday said National Treasury would redirect funds from some government programmes.

    This follows the declaration of a state of disaster by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday night.

    While South Africa’s ailing economy is expected to take an even bigger knock as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, budget allocations, which were slashed just last month, will be reduced even further.

    However, this will not be the only contribution to government’s efforts to clamp down on the virus with Mboweni saying other structural arrangements were being made.

    “There are funds available within the national disaster fund, which will be immediately available.”

    He also explained that along with the Health Department, Treasury is coordinating a working group to make necessary structural arrangements.

    The government has already spent millions transporting and housing over 100 people who were flown back to the country from Wuhan, China.

    COVID-19 CASES TO ‘SPIKE THEN STABILISE’

    Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku on Monday said government expected the number of COVID-19 cases to spike in South Africa over the next few days and then stabilise from next week onwards.

    He said although more test results were starting to come back, only Health Minister Zweli Mkhize could make official announcements when it came to statistics.

    There are at least 62 confirmed coronavirus cases on home soil with Gauteng accounting for exactly half of the infections.

    Masuku said government hoped efforts to minimise contact between people would help stabilise the infection rate.

    “We expect that the numbers will grow but with all measures put in place, the figure will stabilise from next week.”

    He said this prediction was based on international trends.

    “After putting measures in place, you start to have a decline in numbers.”

    To track the latest developments around the coronavirus both in South Africa and abroad, click on this live status report from Strategix.

    By: Thato Mahlakoana

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