Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba unveiled what could be his last budget on Wednesday. His speech in parliament could end up being memorable for all the wrong reasons.
Gigaba became the first minister in the post-apartheid era to hike VAT – which did not go over well.
Below are some of the reactions to the budget.
South African Communist Party
- Budget occurs within a very challenging situation‚ not least a nearly R50bn fiscal deficit‚ and a public debt that is simply unsustainable over the medium term.
- As much as half of the deficit is directly attributable to state capture looting.
The budget is an integral part of anti-corruption efforts.
- It reinforced the state of the nation address message that urgent attention is needed to address governance issues at state-owned entities.
- Extremely unhappy with the increase in VAT‚ which will hit the poor the hardest.
- Concerned about significant increase in state spending‚ including in the cost of the executive.
- No comprehensive plan to eliminate systematic corruption.
- No budget for the commission of inquiry into state capture.
- No plans to stabilise SOEs like Transnet‚ Eskom and SAA‚ except for financial guarantees.
Trade union Solidarity
- Budget will dampen economic growth.
- No real sign of a cut in government spending.
- Taxpayers and consumers will have to bear the heavy burden of ANC policy.
National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa)
- The budget was inclusive and progressive given economic challenges.
- Supports the measures to improve governance of state-owned entities.
- Welcomes the R57 billion allocation towards first-year students’ higher education costs.
- The one percentage point hike in VAT is “difficult but necessary”.
SA Federation of Trade Unions
- The increase in VAT will affect the poor more than the rich.
- The increase in social grants is an insult.
- It’s a lie to say the budget will cushion the poor.
- Budget is a slap in the face for workers.
- The ANC is unable to transform national treasury.
- Finance minister is not friendly to the poor.
- The biggest challenge is that national treasury is running the country.
Source: TMG Digital.