SADTU has noted the supplementary budget presented by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. The budget sadly spells doom for public service employees.
As the largest union in the public service sector, we were expecting the Minister to announce the amount that has been budgeted to meet the salary increases for the sector which are long overdue as they were supposed to have been paid in April. Instead of announcing the figure, he referred to the negotiations with labour that are being led by the Minister of Public Services. These negotiations are long overdue because an agreement for salary increases was signed way back in 2018. Clearly, no money has been set aside for the 2020-21 salary increases. Instead, the budget will be cut by R160 billion. Moving forward, this budget has sent a clear message that there will be no wage negotiations in 2021-2022. Instead, public service will bear the brunt for the preceding R230 billion budget cut. The supplementary budget has sent a clear message that there is going to be salary cuts and thousands of job losses in the public service.
Public service employees have long been calling for their retirement savings to be used to fund the Government Employee Housing Scheme so that they can, at least, have a roof over their heads as they do not qualify for government housing and many cannot afford the mortgage bonds. Our pleas have fallen on deaf ears and this budget has continued to ignore our demand.
As COVID 19 has brought to the fore the disparity in our education system in terms of provision of infrastructure such as water, sanitation and proper ablution facilities, we were expecting the Minister to address this matter given that there are schools that have not reopened since the 8th June. Even though he did speak of putting infrastructure at the centre of growth, we expected him to dwell more on school infrastructure. The recovery of the economy is dependent on education and training and a democratic government cannot repeat the mistakes of the apartheid regime that denied the rural and township communities quality public education and training. We demand that the government provide all the provinces that are struggling with an education stimulus package. The health and safety of the teachers, education support personnel and learners is a non-negotiable.
With no additional money for salaries and no education stimulus package, this supplementary budget is depressing.
It is depressing that we have learners – the future of this nation – who are sitting at home since the phasing in of Grades 7 and 12 because there is still no water nor proper ablution facilities in schools in the largely rural provinces. More grades are to be phased in July and yet we still have not seen mobile classrooms being delivered in schools or sustainable alternative arrangements being made in order to ensure social distancing.
We are looking forward to the roll-out of the repurposed public employment programme and the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention. South Africa is in need of jobs. We hope this will create sustainable jobs that will allow South Africans and the youth in particular to have stable, sustainable work, proper remuneration and not stipends.
ISSUED BY: SADTU Secretariat
General Secretary, Mugwena Maluleke: 082 783 2968
Deputy General Secretary, Nkosana Dolopi: 082 709 5651
Media Officer, Nomusa Cembi: 082 719 5157