2019 budget falls within neoliberal framework - EFF

Fighters say they will table a solid and implementable budget after elections


Wednesday, 20 February, 2019

The EFF notes the Minister of Finance budget. As the EFF, we are not surprised that the budget proposed, falls squarely in-line with the whole neo-liberal framework. The proposed budget failed to provide concrete and straightforward steps, that government has to take to create jobs, grow the economy and prepare for expropriation of land without compensation.

Instead, the Minister chose to appease the markets, rating agencies, and financiers, by continuing with the tradition of austerity measures and poor positioning of state-owned companies as key drivers to economic stimulation.

The proposed budget clearly shows that the ANC collective have run out of ideas on how to create jobs. The information from all sectors of the economy is showing that more jobs are going to be lost if there is no decisive intervention. The budget does not address this matter in any convincing way. The Minister is talking about allocation of money for purchasing of land, when we are going to expropriate all land into the custody of the state for equal redistribution.

The money that is allocated for land must be increased, and it must prioritize seeds, equipment, appointment of agriculture officers, and building of more food markets all over the country.

We view the increases on social grants as a futile exercise, the meaningful increases would have been to double them with a view to provide the much needed relief for the poor.

The question of whether we need state-owned companies is both misleading and misguided.

SOEs are strategic state assets, important for building state capacity to deliver efficiently. The mismanagement of SOEs by the ruling party since 1994, as a revolving door for incompetent and corrupt comrades, while side-lining qualified engineers, scientists, artisans, planners, competent and qualified administrators; is not a reason to say we don't need SOEs. Any move to privatise any Of SOEs, will not be welcomed and we will fight by all means necessary.

SOEs need competent people and clear political directions, then they will perform efficiently and effectively. The EFF proposed a state-owned assets supervision and administrative Commission, which will consistently oversee SOEs and intervene when things go wrong.

We also reject the idea of early retirement, and refusal to give government workers bonuses, as a sign of under-appreciation of the hard work put in by government workers.

The proposed retrenchments of public servants is a clear sign that neoliberal framework continues to undermine the capacity of the state. Instead of building qualitative state capacity, government intends to rely more on the private sector, through corrupt tenders with inflated prices. The build, operate, and transfer model, that is not modelled around state capacity building, will only benefit corrupt multinational corporations. Government cannot afford to lose skills, and therefore we do not support the proposed layoffs. It will be naive of unions to think there will not be massive job cuts after the elections of the ANC remain in power.

The EFF welcomes the increase of social grants, even though we recognize that it is too little.

We appreciate that every Rand matters to our senior citizens, mothers and care givers, who receive social grants. We welcome the efforts to rebuild capacity at SARS, even though we are concerned about the secretive and suspicious process followed, to appoint a new commissioner. We further welcome the R30 billion additional funding to build schools, even though we know the model of tenders for construction has failed our children who continue to use pit toilets.

The idea that eTolls will be relooked into is a complete lie. Mboweni has once more committed, that our people must pay for tolls. This means Makhura has been lying to our people with absolute impunity.

The EFF government will table a solid and implementable budget, which will lead to massive industrialization and job creation, after the 2019 elections. We will cancel all power purchasing contracts with IPPs, reduce VAT to 14%, increase corporate income tax to 32%, establish a sovereign wealth fund, abolish tenders, establish a state owned bank, and build a capable SARS to collect maximum tax.

Statement issued by the Econoimc Freedom Fighters, 20 February 2019