On Wednesday, 26th of October 2022, Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana will be tabling the 2022 Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) in Parliament. As the Alternative Information and Development Centre, we continue to challenge the government’s austerity agenda which has negatively impacted South Africans, based on the following issues and rationale.
These include but are not limited to the overall size of the revenue, which was estimated at just over R1.7 trillion in the previous 2021 MTBPS. The Tax: GDP ratio, Debt: GDP ratio and the division of revenue will also be carefully scrutinized.
Looking at previous years, we have always been concerned about the government’s priority areas, including the allocation of section 27 rights, such as education, health and remuneration of public servants.
Moreover, as a remedy to the huge gaps in social security allocations, the unconditional universal basic income grant is one that should have been introduced long ago as a safety net for the poor who are grappling with the unemployment crisis. This has been a demand of civil society and trade unions for more than two decades. There has unfortunately been no movement in this regard, despite a number of organisations that have provided evidence-based proposals on how the Basic Income Grant can be financed, and why it is necessary.
Last year, the Department of Social Development in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the UN Development Goals (SDG) Joint Fund released a report indicating that a basic income support grant was sustainable.
We are also concerned that the current, self-imposed austerity measures means that there will also be a significant cut in public service spending. At the Public Sector Summit in March this year, the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) reported that national and provincial departments at the end of 2021 employed about 1 164 000 public servants and that 165 000 posts were vacant.
To shine more light on this, we have compiled a document entitled “Preview of the 2022 Mini-Budget”, which is a guide for activists. Part 1 of a two-part read is aimed at helping us better understand the political and economic decisions made by government leaders regarding the economy in the past few years.
It also aims to show that there are alternatives to the path we have been set on and that to follow this path is a political choice, not one made out of necessity. Part 1 was written before the publication of the Mid Term Budget. Part 2 will deal with the 2022 Mid Term Budget as presented on 26 October 2022. You can download it below.
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