Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, delivers his budget speech in parliament yesterday. Image: Sunday Times
The budget speech delivered by the Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, is nothing short of a direct attack on the poor and a brake on national reconstruction. Mboweni gave nuts and bolts to the pro Stellenbosch State of the Nation Address (SONA). This was therefore a Stellenbosch budget.
To pacify the poor, Mboweni threw some crumbs at them with one hand whilst taking it all back with another hand. What is the use of raising social grants but taking away the food of children by cutting the budget for the school feeding scheme? The burden to feed the child will invariably go to the grandparents and thereby erode even the nominal increases announced.
The fact that the Stellenbosch budget was approved by the top three political parties in parliament, shows that Stellenbosch is indeed in charge.
The Stellenbosch budget attack on social expenditure is evil. Mboweni will take away money from education, healthcare, and the municipalities. This means suffering for the poor.
Mboweni has also unleashed the destruction of the State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) to accelerate the privatization of these entities. The allocation to Eskom is intended to fund the independent power producers (IPPs) which are empowered to take over from Eskom and sell directly to the public, thereby making electricity unaffordable for the ordinary people. This is treasonous and must not be pardoned, even after this regime has been moved from power. The same goes for the allocation for the South African Airways (SAA) – this is taking money from building hospitals and giving it to the friends of Coleman Andrews who bankrupted the SAA.
The proposals regarding the State Bank and the Sovereign Wealth Fund make no difference in a neoliberal policy environment. The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) is an existing wealth fund but it empowers white capital. It’s shocking to hear that money for the Sovereign Wealth Fund will come from privatisation.
The State Bank annouced by Mboweni is an irrelevant red herring in the environment where existing state banks are being destroyed. The Land Bank is underfunded and has just been thrown to the vulturous rating agencies. The same situation applies to the Postbank, and Ithala Bank – to name a few. Furthermore, government is selling its 50% share equity in the African Bank after a massive bail out on its part. In other words, government already owns 50% of a commercial bank. Black First Land First (BLF) rejects the state bank of Stellenbosch which will not give blacks interest free loans.
The budget speech has inadvertently revealed how the Stellenbosch parliament functions. The Democratic Alliance (DA) sets the policy agenda, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) provides a left cover for the DA’s right wing policies, and the African National Congress (ANC) implements those policies.
BLF rejects the budget speech in its entirety. We call on the poor and workers to demand a pro people budget.
Issued by Black First Land First, National Coordinating Committee of (BLF NCC)
27 February 2020
Black First Land First Mail: [email protected]
(BLF Deputy President)
Cell: +27 79 986 7225