We welcome the increases in the budgets for education, land reform, health and social security. However, the increases in the budget does not mean that there will be quality free education, quality health care services, which include the national health insurance, that Government will meet its target of redistributing 30% land by 2013 and improved livelihoods.
We would like to put specific emphasis on two demands which relates to farm workers, whom we represent.
We demand a sufficient budget allocation to support agrarian reform which supports food security, tenure security and ownership of housing through the land reform grant. It should have a capacity building component as well where farm workers, especially women farm workers and dwellers, are to own and run farms independently.
This would realise Government’s targets in terms of land redistribution. It would also realise the ANC Freedom Charter that states that the land shall be shared amongst those who work it.
It is indeed farm workers who work the soil of the earth, who are feeding the nation, and who are producing the food for the nation.
The second area we would like to highlight is the demand for a budget that supports quality free education up to tertiary level.
We believe farm worker children has the potential to become doctors, advocates, lawyers, professors and as former President Thabo Mbeki has said, a farm worker child can become the president of the country.
South Africa has been rated the most unequal country in the world and it has the fastest growing gap between the rich and poor. Brazil has increased its income of the poor through land reform and social grants and have moved from the most unequal to the second most unequal country.
Recession became the excuse not to implement the 4 pillars of decent work which is social protection, social dialogue, decent wages etc. Companies all over the world are bailed out and blank cheques are given by governments.
We would like to post a question to the Minister of Finance: is this not the perfect opportunity to support workers to take over and run these companies, would this not give meaning to socialism? Is this not what is needed to decrease the gap between the rich and the poor and where the wealth of the country is shared?