COSATU will present its response and proposals to Government’s Division of Revenue Bill (Supplementary Budget) to Parliament’s Standing and Select Committees on Appropriations (virtual platform) tomorrow.
South Africa is facing its greatest economic crises in living memory. Even before Covid-19 and the lockdown; the economy was in recession, with 40% unemployment, and collapsing SOEs and municipalities.
The economy has been repeatedly downgraded and millions of workers are facing retrenchments. An economic depression is a real possibility.
The Supplementary Budget failed to inspire and to show imagination that will stimulate the economy and slash unemployment.
We are still waiting for the R1 trillion stimulus plan promised by the President and more clarity on the infrastructure programme and government’s job creation programme.
Corruption continues to be the source of economic retardation with no plans forthcoming from government to curb it and the wasteful expenditure that consumes 10% of our budget. There is no plan to get our SOEs back on a sound footing and no new economic regulatory interventions have been presented so far.
Equally worrying is the complete silence from government on the repeated damning findings by the Auditor-General on the mismanagement of resources in municipalities.
Whilst acknowledging the reinforcement of frontline departments, it is distressing that the supplementary budget was completely silent on what management interventions will be implemented to ensure:
· Schools are readied to ensure the massive sanitation backlog is dealt and health and safety measures implemente.
· Metro Rail will be able to transport workers safely.
· The taxi sector in exchange for relief funding will be compelled to become compliant with the various tax and labour legislation.
· Health, public and municipal workers are provided with the necessary PPEs.
· The health infrastructure interventions are permanent and not temporary.
· All informal areas are upgraded to ensure that they have decent sanitation and access to water and other basic amenities.
There is no plan to help SARS to crack down on tax evasion or introduce additional revenue like solidarity tax. There is no clear roadmap presented on how we will grow the economy and increase revenue so that we can begin reducing our debt levels in a manner which will not choke the economy.
The only proposal from government is to slash expenditure by stealing from essential workers like nurses, doctors, police, correctional services officers, teachers and other public servants.
Politicians are still overpaid despite their poor performance in managing the country and the economy.
Whilst municipal workers are being decimated by Covid-19, that Treasury is now trying to bully municipalities to renege on the 2020 local government wage agreement. This is a recipe for chaos and a slap in the face of workers.
COSATU will present its proposals to Parliament in the hope that government will listen to the voice of millions of demoralised workers and their families.
For further information please contact: Matthew Parks-COSATU Parliamentary Coordinator
Cell: 082 785 0687