Thursday, February 23, 2017

SACP Statement on the South African Budget Speech
22 February 2017

The South African Communist Party (SACP) notes the Budget Statement delivered by the Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan in Parliament today. Economic conditions both domestically and internationally remain unfavourable as a result of the ongoing global economic crisis that erupted in 2008. This remains a major constraint on our budget. Nevertheless our process of democratic transformation has strategic tasks to implement on our shores.

The SACP welcomes the key entry point that must guide the perspective of radical economic transformation as quoted by Minister Gordhan from the first ANC Strategy and Tactics document adopted in 1969.

"Our nationalism must not be confused with chauvinism or narrow nationalism of a previous epoch. It must not be confused with the classical drive by an elitist group among the oppressed people to gain ascendancy so that they can replace the oppressor in the exploitation of the masses."

The crucial importance of this revolutionary principle cannot be overemphasised!

In particular corporate capture and corruption by those who are pushing their private interests under the guise of radical economic transformation will destroy the revolutionary fibre of our movement. In that Strategy and Tactics document quoted by Minister Gordhan there is no confusion about what the ANC meant by economic emancipation. The document states in no uncertain terms that:

"in our land this cannot be effectively tackled unless the basic wealth and the basic resources are at the disposal of the people as a whole and are not manipulated by sections or individuals be they White or Black".

Radical economic transformation is not narrowly about changing ownership patterns in favour of a few individuals. It is first and foremost about decisive measures to radically reduce class, racial, gender and apartheid spatial inequalities towards equality. Radical economic transformation requires an inclusive growth process and a comprehensive approach on overcoming the legacy of colonialism and imperialist domination.

The SACP welcomes the new top personal income tax rate of 45 percent for those with taxable incomes above R1.5 million, and the insistence on a progressive income tax structure. This will be an important source of a significant proportion of the anticipated tax revue increase.

The SACP welcomes the commitment to convene the second financial sector summit this year. We further welcome the commitment to ensure that there is much more supervision of financial markets. The importance to advance and deepen the transformation of the financial sector cannot be overemphasised!

We therefore welcome the provisional granting of a banking license to the Post Bank and the commitment to recapitalise it. Accordingly we are calling on the Department of Social Development to hand over the distribution of social grants to the Post Office. As part of fighting corruption, the Department must not perpetuate the illegal tender of social grants distribution that was awarded to the Cash Paymaster Services.

The SACP welcomes the no increase on VAT.

But we are concerned about the increase in fuel levy and the impact it will have on all South Africans especially the workers and poor who spend a significant proportion of their wages on transport. The increase in fuel levy will also affect the prices of consumer goods including basic necessities.

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