On the medium term expenditure framework
The South African Communist Party (SACP) notes, and given the difficult global and regional operating economic environment generally approves of, the medium term expenditure framework statement presented today in Parliament by the Minister of Finance, Comrade Pravin Gordhan.
The SACP welcomes the strong assertion by the Minister that our commitment is not simply for economic growth but inclusive economic growth. Hence the commitment to sustain and marginally increase public spending on social protection and key infrastructure programmes, including housing, energy and transport, despite the prevailing unfavourable environment and therefore in the context of a delicate balancing act.
The SACP further welcomes the increased allocation for higher education and training that caters for students from households with an income of up to R600 000 per annum – i.e. the lower strata of the middle class or the so-called missing middle.
A further R9-billion for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and an R8-billion for higher education and training students from the lower strata of the middle class have been allocated as an adjustment in addition to the allocation made in the main budget in February. This shows that the government has listened to, and takes seriously, the genuine calls made by students towards accelerated rollout of free education for students from the households of the poor, working class and lower sections of the middle class that cannot afford fees or fee increases.
The SACP supports the strong theme running through the Minister’s statement on eliminating wasteful and fruitless expenditure across the state and the public sector as a whole and on zero tolerance to corruption. This includes the strengthening of the Chief Procurement Office, with a public procurement bill.
The SACP in principle also supports the rationalisation of the 71 provincial public entities, of which many have been entangled in widespread corruption allegations, capital leakage and therefore the loss of resources that are direly needed to support national transformation and development imperatives.
It is in the context of the ongoing difficult global operating environment that the Minister indicated that we need to increase our national fiscus by R28-billion worth of additional tax revenue. The Communist Party urges that this must be done through progressive taxation with a decisive focus on wealth and high incomes, rather than a further burden on the working class. Any increase in VAT for example will impact not only on the employed workers but also on the unemployed.
Statement issued by the South African Communist Party, 26 October 2016