THE Gauteng provincial government has settled its outstanding R4.2 billion loan from National Treasury which was taken in 2006 for the Gautrain project, MEC for Finance Barbara Creecy announced on Thursday.
She said they made the last payment of R1.2 billion, settling off the R4.2 billion. Creecy said it was the first of two loans totalling R5.2 billion that they took in 2006 and 2011 to fund the project.
“I’m very pleased that we have been able to repay this loan in full and on time. We are living in difficult economic times. Therefore the finalisation of this loan will assist us to put more money in funding provincial priorities,” said Creecy.
The other loan of R1 billion was secured from Absa in 2011. Creecy said the provincial government would pay it off by September this year.
Creecy made the announcement when she was delivering her department’s budget vote in the provincial legislature in Johannesburg.
“The successful repayment of our first loan on time shows that this provincial administration is willing and able to work across all spheres of government to implement the rollout of infrastructure,” said Creecy.
She added that they would use their R712.6 million budget in the new financial year to promote clean governance and protect public funds.
Creecy said improvements in public finance management and economic transformation were not incompatible but the province had proved they could both be done successfully. She said they were working hard to procure services from black-owned companies that were previously excluded from the mainstream economy.
One aspect being utilised was the open tender system which sheds light into the affairs of government while raising public confidence.
“We pride ourselves in innovating the Open Tender system to restore public confidence in a fair and just public procurement system. We are also proud that over the last three years, we have spent R42.8 billion of our R46 billion goods and services budget procuring from companies owned by historically disadvantaged individuals,” she said.
Since its launch in 2014, 73 projects have been awarded through the Open Tender system with a total value of R12.382 billion.
She said this year, 80% of new procurement in departments would go through the system.