Former Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba’s ActionSA has called on government to cut its expenditure rather than increase taxes to pay for Covid-19 vaccines.
Mashaba said in a statement that his political party had launched a public campaign to rally South Africans behind the call for the government to reduce its spending before increasing taxes to fund the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines.
ActionSA’s #CutTheFat campaign suggests that government should cut down on the number of ministers and deputy ministers, as well as on staff, VIP bodyguards and private security.
“The #CutTheFat campaign calls on all South Africans to draw a line in the sand and say ‘this far and no further’ to a government that continues to spend and live expensively while South Africans are suffering,” Mashaba said.
Mashaba said during his tenure as Johannesburg mayor, his administration was able to cut R2 billion in non-essential expenditure.
“This was just one of 278 municipalities in South Africa, let alone what is possible in the nine provinces and the national budget. From R378 million spent annually on self-promoting advertising and marketing, to over R40 million on travel and R1 million on DStv connections, Johannesburg was spending money without regard for how hard its residents worked to earn it. The same would be true across all ANC-run governments,” Mashaba said.
Mashaba said the 2020 lockdown had brought economic hardships to households across the country, with half of small businesses having to close down and 2.8 million jobs being lost.
“A government that raises tax on any South African under these economic conditions would have to prove that it had done everything in its power to reduce its own expenditure first.”
Mashaba said countries around the world were reducing taxes in response to the economic recessions brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Our message to President [Cyril] Ramaphosa is to show leadership by example. While there are many budget cuts that have to be made, the president should start by showing us a new cabinet that can fit into an average boardroom,” Mashaba said.
Mashaba said it was a lie that only employed citizens paid taxes, with more than 11.2 million unemployed South Africans expected to suffer due to increased taxes by paying more transport and basic household goods.
ActionSA has urged South Africans to visit www.actionsa.org.za/CutTheFat to register their support and to pressure government to cut its own expenditure to fund the vaccine rollout, before considering raising an additional cent in taxes.
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Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu