COSATU presented its submission on the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement to Parliament today

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) presented its submission on the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) to Parliament today.

The economy is battling to emerge from a recession, to recover from Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown, a stubbornly high 44% unemployment rate, a state crippled by corruption and state capture, loadshedding and cable theft, and the July 2021 violence and the March 2022 floods.  Yet there was little in the MTBPS that gave hope to workers and the nation that government has things under control and we can see the economy growing, jobs being created and the state rebuilt.

Most worryingly we saw government continue to pursue its focus on reducing the debt by allowing public servants’ wages to be eroded by inflation and allocating below inflation increases and thus cuts in real terms to key public services that workers and the economy depend upon.  Government continues to outsource the bill for state capture and corruption to public servants.  The MTBPS provides no plans to reverse the rapid decline in the head count ratio for nurses, doctors, teachers and police officers.

There was little that spoke to how government is tackling corruption, ending wasteful expenditure or rebuilding key State Owned Enterprises.  The failure by the NPA to meet even 20% of its annual targets half way through the financial year should set off alarm bells for everyone.

Half way through the financial year, it is deplorable how far behind many key departments are in meeting their annual targets.  The financial free fall of 90% of municipalities is well known, yet we see no sign of action by COGTA and SALGA in turning the state of local government around.

Whilst the overall thrust of the MTBPS was depressing, COSATU does welcome its positive elements.  These include the extension of the SRD Grant by a further year, a commitment to relieve Eskom of up to 2/3 of its debt burden, additional funds to rebuild Transnet, relief for DENEL and the ending of the E-Tolls saga.  The Federation welcomes government’s agreeing to these key COSATU demands.

Government needs to table a bold and progressive budget in February that will provide relief for the poor, protect workers and public servants, tackle corruption and wasteful expenditure, clamp down on tax and customs evasion, support Eskom as well as Transnet and Metro Rail and other key SOEs, rebuild local government and restore quality public services, stimulate the economy and reduce unemployment.  We simply cannot afford to continue to run an economy on a wing and a prayer and expect things to change.

Issued by COSATU For further information please contact:
Matthew Parks-COSATU Parliamentary Coordinator
082 7850 687