De Lille rates budget speech as not Good enough

Patricia de Lille has said six priorities of Finance Minister Tito Mboweni's budget are part of her political party's Plan to Fix South Africa (#FIXSA). Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)

‘Aunty Pat’ reckons Mboweni’s aloe leaves are too bitter.

Slow growth, financially dependent state-owned enterprises and unproductive state expenditure is the ‘aloe’ leaf South Africans must chew as the fruits of looting and financial recklessness take their toll, GOOD leader, Patricia De Lille said in a statement on Wednesday.

Responding to the Finance Minister, Patricia De Lille has said that while her party, GOOD, welcomes the minister’s identification of the six priorities for fixing South Africa, there must be more action and less talk on the part of the ruling party.

“Today, South Africans get to chew on a bitter aloe leaf with more promises that the sweet taste will still come,” De Lille said.

She said that these priorities, higher economic growth, increasing revenue through taxation, stabilising national debt, incurring affordable expenditure, fixing the state-owned companies and trimming the public sector were all part of her party’s “Plan to Fix South Africa (#FIXSA)”.

“This will go a long way to achieving the financial stability we need in order to improve the quality of life of the millions of South Africans who are trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty and unemployment,” De Lille said.

But De Lille criticised Mboweni for the poor response to social welfare, saying that the meagre R80 a month increase for pensioners and R20 a month increase for child care would render pensioners and care givers poorer.

“”Our efforts should be to lift those who are dependent on the state out of poverty not make them increasingly worse off in real terms.”

Similarly, De Lille slammed what she called “government’s incoherent and uncertain economic growth strategy and a massive failure of our education system”, which has done little to avert huge unemployment among the youth.

“After 25 years of democracy we have a divergence between our rapidly changing economy and our skills set.  With massive youth unemployment and increasingly fewer prospects of jobs.”

GOOD also said that the Fourth Industrial Revolution would exacerbate this situation as automation was a threat to job security. “Under this ANC government it will be increasingly more difficult for a young unemployed South African to find a job,” the party said.

Calling for a universal income grant, De Lille said: “We could fund a universal income grant, which would alleviate the social and economic trauma of rampant unemployment and inhumane hunger, with savings made from eliminating the looting.”

While she welcomed the minister’s acknowledgement of increased urbanisation in the country, De Lille said that the allocation of a mere 9% of the budget to local government was evidence of the ruling party’s ignorance of what was necessary to adequately resource the sphere of government that was at the coalface of delivering services to South Africans.

“Preparing for that future is our duty and the ANC has failed to grasp that you cannot talk about vertical development and think you have dealt with urbanisation. Cities and towns need the powers and the resources to plan and build for that future.”

However, De Lille was heartened that the Minister had ignored a DA proposal that business and corporate taxes should be hiked to fund free education because it would be “irresponsible to plan to extract more revenue out of the active economy that is already under pressure” in an economy that was growing at less than 1% per year.

In the same vein, De Lille welcomed  the “allusion to breaking Eskom’s monopoly and allowing competition in the electricity generation sector, especially in the form of renewables”.

Continuing on the adoption of a more austere approach to government, De Lille said that GOOD welcomed Mboweni’s proposal to cut the government’s operating costs and the cutting of numbers in the public service through natural attrition.

– African News Agency

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