COSATU presented its submission on the Division of Revenue Amendment Bill to Parliament
24 November 2021
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) presented its submission on the Division of Revenue Amendment (DORA) Bill to Parliament’s Standing Committee on Appropriations today. The Division of Revenue Amendment Bill caters for allocations to provincial and local government, in particular the adjustments provided for in the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS).
The MTBPS and the DORA Bill take place during multiple crises. The economy is stagnant and in its deepest recession in a century, unemployment has reached an all-time high of 44% and is expected to rise further, corruption has crippled large parts of the state and seen many key State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and municipalities collapse, billions are lost from the fiscus to wasteful expenditure and tax evasion, Eskom is limping and load shedding hindering any economic recovery, and only 40% of the adults have vaccinated threatening a devastating 4th wave of Covid-19 infections. What was fundamentally absent from the MTBPS were clear and bold interventions to turn the tide on these existential threats to workers and the economy.
Whilst COSATU is disappointed with the overall thrust of the MTBPS, the Federation welcomes many of the progressive adjustments provided for in the DORA Bill. These were demands that COSATU had championed and will benefit millions of workers and create over 550 000 jobs. These include:
Providing for the implementation of the 2021 public service wage agreement.
R6 billion for the employment of over 310 000 teaching assistants; &
Department of Health:
R243 million to employ medical interns.
R350 million to employ nurses and health workers to roll out the Covid-19 vaccines and reinforce hospitals; &
R167 million for community outreach work, oncology, and mental health programmes.
Department of Social Development:
R178 million for Early Childhood education and the hiring of 70 000 educators; &
R120 million for the hiring of social workers.
R841 million for the cleaning up and revitalising of neighbourhoods, including the employment of 33 663 community workers.
COSATU is worried about the failure of the Department of Basic Education to meet 80% of its 1000 schools’ sanitation programme. The shifting and roll over of funds allocated for sanitation point to a serious capacity crisis in that Deparment. Government needs to deal with that. A country that can host a FIFA World Cup and run a nuclear power station has no excuse for not being able to provide decent sanitation to all its schools.
The reduction by R561 million towards the revitalisation of healthcare infrastructure during a global pandemic and for aging and overstretched healthcare facilities undermines government’s efforts to save lives and should be reversed.
The inability by the City of Cape Town to spend R1.3 billion on expanding its My City bus service whilst many Metro Rail lines have collapsed there is beyond explanation and points to politicians who don’t care about the lives of workers or fixing the economy.
COSATU is disappointed that the DORA Bill and the MTBPS are silent on the litany of damning finds by the Auditor-General on the rampant corruption and wasteful expenditure in our provincial government and more especially in countless municipalities. A culture of simply handing over billions with little accountability and few consequences for criminal wrongdoing cannot continue.
COSATU hopes the 2022/23 Budget to be tabled in February at Parliament will stimulate the economy and job creation, provide protection for workers and relief for the unemployed, tackle blockages to economic growth, support growth sectors, tackle corruption and wasteful expenditure, reinforce SARS and tackle tax evasion, support Eskom and accelerate the coming onboard of new generation capacity, provide clear plans to save and reposition embattled SOEs, and decisively tackle the dysfunctionality that has come to mark so many municipalities. Voters have spoken clearly to the ANC and government. Get your house in order before it’s too late.
Issued by Matthews Parks, Parliamentary Coordinator, COSATU, 24 November 2021