The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) will present its response to the 2021/22 Budget to Parliament at 11am Wednesday, 3 March during the Finance Committees’ virtual public hearings.
The economy is facing its greatest crisis in 100 years, unemployment has pushed past 40%, many State-Owned Enterprises and Municipalities are in various stages of collapse and corruption consumes on average R150 billion or 10% of the budget annually.
There are provisions in the Budget the Federation welcomes like the tax relief for workers and a commitment to invest R791 billion in infrastructure. However, these are insufficient given the need to stimulate the economy, provide economic and social relief to workers and businesses, tackle corruption and rebuild the state. The budget failed spectacularly in that regard.
COSATU is deeply opposed to the freeze in expenditure and how this is funded on the backs of over stretched public servants through an imposed four (4) year wage agreement.The government needs to respect collective bargaining by honouring the last leg of the 2018 wage agreement and engaging with unions at the PSCBC on the next agreement in good faith.
Government needs to show some moral courage and deal with cancer of corruption that is bleeding the state and SOEs dry. It needs to invest more in SARS to tackle tax and customs evasion. It needs to extend the R350 Covid-19 Grant for the unemployed and the UIF’s Covid-19 TERS for workers who remain under restrictions preventing them from work. It needs to adjust social grants for inflation. Treasury and the banks need to come with financial package that will provide meaningful relief to distressed companies.
Treasury’s focus on paying down the debt at the expense of saving jobs and stimulating the economy will not miraculously result in a growing economy. The most sustainable path to paying down the debt, is to stimulate the economy, provide measures to save jobs and companies, extend relief for distressed workers and sectors, develop clear plans to rehabilitate the SOEs and tackle the billions lost to corruption, wasteful expenditure, and tax evasion.
Nothing will be achieved in a stagnant economy, the sooner government realises this, the faster we can begin to tackle the real challenges facing workers, economy and state.
For further information please contact -Matthew Parks- COSATU Parliamentary Coordinator- Cell: 082 785 0687Email: email@example.com