In the President’s recent SONA, he told the country simply to hope. So, by extension, we cannot expect much from the Minister.
However, we cannot afford another Budget drafted on the mere hopes and dreams that the economy will miraculously recover, and that South Africans will somehow reap the benefits when the governing party decides to act.
The governing party has had too many chances in which they have failed to transform the economy. It is difficult to believe that the Minister of Finance could announce any plans that South Africans can actually believe in. This is the difference between trust and hope – trust has been long broken, but now every patriotic citizen has also lost hope.
We firmly believe that SOEs must be partially privatised. The announcement by the President that the Post Bank will become a state-owned bank flies in the face of all taxpayers in the country. We cannot throw money at our problems when the state of the economy is in disarray. Post Bank should be sold off and phased out to become a private entity.
Furthermore, the IFP cautions the government on the proposed mass roll-out of solar energy panels to communities across the country. This is yet another opportunity whereby the corrupt and politically connected will loot the coffers of the state through procurement of projects. South Africans have already witnessed billions of rands being wiped off the economy during Covid-19.
The IFP expects the Minister of Finance to announce an increase in infrastructure development projects, particularly in rural areas. However, urgent attention should also be given to the maintenance of existing infrastructure.
We want the Finance Minister to declare the country one massive construction site. This will certainly aid in creating much needed jobs and will see all government and bulk infrastructure projects fully maintained.
We call for the Minister to expand on the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) in rural and local communities. This infrastructure grant has proven to be successful only when leadership and financial controls have been put in place to constantly monitor and audit projects.
The IFP believes that a new local economic development grant must be effected in order to ignite the local economy and provide tangible change in the lives of millions who reside outside of the metros and urban nodes. Such a new grant should focus on rural economic development and township reform, through providing government support to agricultural cooperatives and initiatives that will guarantee food security and the provision of water in local towns.
While we appreciate the attention given to crime in the previous year, we expect the same this year. We want to see a more targeted approach to tackling various forms of crime. There is a surge in specialised crimes, which has changed the generic nature of crime that the police have dealt with before. The precise lens used to target crimes such as corruption needs to be duplicated to address crimes that seek to sabotage economic development, such as cable theft and business robberies.
For far too long, we have heard the same script from various Ministers and various Presidents. This time around, South Africans will not be as patient or resilient, as decades have passed and communities are becoming increasingly frustrated and violent.
South Africa cannot move forward with the same role-players and stakeholders. We have lost trust in those at the helm of our government. Therefore, this Budget must see an increase in spending on our institutions of justice, policing and security.
The fundamentals of this Budget must address the fact that South Africans are unable to put food on the table as the cost of living is steadily increasing. Social relief would assist the most vulnerable. However, as much as the IFP supports the various grants given to the most vulnerable people, we believe these should be interim measures, as this is not sustainable.
This Budget will fall short if it fails to increase the allocations made to departments and local governments, as this is where communities can see tangible changes in their lives.
Hon. Inkosi Mzamo Buthelezi MP
IFP Deputy President and Spokesperson on Finance
072 39 6112