Non-profit human rights organisation, Black Sash, has welcomed the spending allocation for municipalities in Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's Medium Term Budget Policy Statement this afternoon.
Advocacy Programme Manager Nkosikhulule Nyembezi says: "Such a move illustrates the government's commitment to fullfil its election promises."
The Finance Minister said substantial funding will go to municipalities and provinces for housing, residential infrastructure and local economic development. "The urban settlements development grant will be increased to enable metropolitan municipalities and larger cities to speed up delivery of serviced land for poor households to expand sustainable human settlements," added Gordhan.
Nyembezi says: "We also commend the government for the provision of moving unspent monies within the departments and such a move will encourage the departments who are able to spend their allocated budget to expect more money once their expenditure is finished. This will therefore prevent the situation where unspent expenditure is returned to the government."
Black Sash also welcomed the allocation of disaster management funds that are related to climate change.
The human rights organisation says while it welcomes Minister Gordhan's decision to continue to spend during difficult times and support his commitment to invest in the infrastructure, particularly on public transport system, there is a danger that this money may not really reach the poor.
"Such a move illustrates the government's commitment to fullfil its election promises."
Black Sash would like to see more guarantees that "this spending will reach vulnerable households and individuals through the creation of decent work".
"We reiterate our call for a social justice clause to be included in all State tenders to encourage the creation of local employment and social investment. More often than not, these tenders have only served to enrich a small group of elite people. And more often than not, the quality of the service or product provided has been sub-standard," says Nyembezi.
"Minister Gordhan repeatedly referred today to our high wage bill, yet both public and private leaders continue to live lives of gross excess, acting with apparent disregard for the hardships experienced by the majority of our people. They too, must demonstrate social solidarity by exercising restraint and eradicating corrupt business practices," added Black Sash's Phelisa Nkomo.
The NGO also welcomed the R500 million cash injection for National Health Insurance pilot projects.