The Democratic Alliance (DA) marched to National Treasury today to oppose the VAT increase announced by former finance minister Malusi Gigaba during his 2018 budget speech.
The DA said the 1% increase, bring the VAT up to 15%, amounts to taking money from the pockets of the poor.
The party has launched a petition against the increase, and claims more than 50 000 South Africans have signed it, expressing their opposition to the VAT increase.
The organisation made several proposals that it said were more viable options than increasing the VAT.
These proposals include government making bold spending cuts, ending corruption and getting rid of wasteful luxury spending, which would make available R112 billion.
“We have 74 ministers and deputy ministers earning more than R2 million every year. If we cut the bloated cabinet, we could save R13.8 billion over the medium term,” the party proposed.
The party further proposed that cabinet be cut so government could save R13.8 billion and that South Africa withdraw from the New Development Bank so the country can save R17 billion. They further proposed that government implement a wage freeze for public office bearers to save R60 billion and that the state cut its foreign missions to save R3.9 billion.
The DA further stated the fuel levy should also be scrapped.
It said it would fight the VAT hike on the streets and in parliament.
The organisation said the increase would mean parents would have to pay more for school books and stationery and that this would result in increased costs for the unemployed.
Mmusi Maimane, the party leader, handed over a memorandum calling on Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene, who replaced Gigaba during the recent cabinet reshuffle, to do away with the increase.
Addressing marches outside Treasury, Mmaimane said: “We reject the increase in VAT to 15%. We reject it outright. We reject this government’s plans to make up for their waste and their greed by taxing the poor even more.We reject the argument that the only way to dig us out of our financial hole is by making poor South Africans pay through a higher VAT rate and higher fuel taxes.”