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SACP statement on the 2012 Budget Speech

22 February 2012

The SACP notes and welcomes the budget delivered today by the Minister of Finance which is a continuation of funding the five priority areas of our movement. In the words of the Finance Minster, this budget has been drafted “at a challenging time”. The Minister said today that these times have taught us that unregulated capitalism doesn’t work, we wish to add and remind the entire South African nation that whether regulated or not, capitalism doesn’t work. Socialism is the Future!!

We welcomed the fact that overall this is not a budget of despair and contraction, but rather a continued commitment to significant economic and developmental spending. In particular we welcome the strong budgetary support for the massive infrastructure build programme announced in the President`s State of the Nation Address, the significant spending on job creation and support for the manufacturing sector.

The SACP further notes and welcomes a range of measures announced to tighten up on public sector procurement and measures to combat corruption. We welcome various tax relief measures targetted at low earners, small businesses and micro-enterprises. We note the intention to appoint the chief procurement officer to monitor procurement across government as well as the development of a national price reference system to pick up anomalies in the procurement practices.

The minister of finance also indicated measures to reform the financial sector taking up themes that the SACP has been advancing for a long while including the fact that fees in the financial sector remains too high. However, whilst noting the closing of some loop-holes including for instance the taxing of financial brokers who have not been paying taxes for decades whilst their customers have, the SACP would have liked to have seen a more comprehensive review of loopholes. There are still too many openings for very wealthy South Africans to dodge their responsibilities to the country. Whilst the upward adjustment in capital gains tax is welcomed, the Minister himself conceded that it was still below our peer group countries.

The budget has further given details on the measures to be undertaken in dealing with the challenge of housing finance for workers who don’t qualify for RDP houses or loans from the banks - another victory for the SACP-led campaign to address the housing crisis for middle income earners. We hope that soon government and its related institutions will extend similar support in the field of education for the same category of workers. The SACP however hopes that financial institutions will not abuse this in order not to transform for them to serve the poor.

The SACP welcomes the fact that the NHI implementation process will commence with pilots this year with an allocation of R1 billion. Our misgivings about the pace notwithstanding, this development is critical. The allocations for the upgrade of nursing colleges, rebuilding of hospitals and the call for hiring more nurses and doctors all signal an approach that supports the 10 point plan which in order to turn around our public health system. The Minister has stated that a discussion document looking into the proposals of long term funding for NHI will be released in April 2012. However the SACP would like to restate its opposition to an increase on VAT for funding of the NHI and would like to appeal to treasury to forego this option.

One of the issues that the Minster pointed out in the budget is the fact that in order to deliver on our promises to the people we need a capable state and active citizens. This points to the task that the SACP has been engaging in over years of building organs of people’s power in health, in transport, in education, in building street committees with our flagship “Know Your Neighbourhood Campaign”. These are initiatives we will continue to undertake to make sure that citizens, and not elite liberal civil society who are opposed to the developmental thrust of government`s programmes, have a say in determining the future of our country.

Issued by the SACP

Malesela Maleka
SACP Spokesperson – 082 226 1802