Survivors of gender-based violence accommodated in shelters are subsidised by R30 per day per women. R30 is supposed to cover 3 meals per day, including children’s food, and pay for all the others needs of women and their children in the shelter. The burden is on NGOs providing sheltering services to constantly fundraise so that survivors can have access to holistic care. This means that NGOs who cannot source additional funds for survivors will have to stretch R30 and ensure survivors’ needs are covered.
The proportion of GDP taken in tax has risen from 22.5% in 1994/95 to 26.8% in 2009/10. But the bigger tax take (and doubling of the public sector wage bill in five years) has been accompanied by diminishing state effectiveness.
People in top tax brackets get few direct benefits. Many pay twice over. Inter alia, their taxes finance social grants, health care, and education, but none qualify for social grants, while most pay for private health care and education.
Just whose budget is this? A brief review of how some of our mass media reported the 2010 Budget Speech.
As expected, today’s media are filled with budget analyses, special reports, programmes and inserts and they have done well in seeking to simplify and make interesting an issue that is about a budget. While extensive, however, coverage tends to be biased in favour of big business.
The pessimist in us all waited with baited breath to criticise the Finance Minister and point fingers at the lack of response towards social and economic drivers stifling the growth of South Africa and its future aka our young people. However, the 2010 budget speech by Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, presented what seems like a good balance between economic development imperatives and social services. This not only made the pessimist take a backseat as we listened in anticipation, but caught the attention of at least every NGO, NPO and company striving to uplift the country.
By all accounts, the first fully-fledged budget presentation by the new Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, was a balanced affair – meaning that it was sufficiently pleasing to a sufficient number of organised interest groups, especially those groups with the capacity and potential to undermine the ability of the government to pursue its programmes.
In its electoral promises in 2009, the current administration outlined: rural development, local government service delivery, education and health as critical priority areas that needed urgent attention. It is pleasing to note that in the current financial estimates due consideration has been accorded to these priorities, particularly interventions directed at poverty alleviation, fighting unemployment, skills development and economic recovery.
Still a Rocky Road Ahead.
It was already clear in Pravin Gordhan’s first medium-term budget policy statement in October 2009 that a substantial adjustment is needed to be made to public finances over the next few years as economic recovery will be slow.
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.
In our response to President Zuma`s State of the Nation Speech last week, SACTWU issued a press release which stated the following:
The Development Action Group (DAG) is a non-governmental organisation working in the urban development sector and focusing on housing and access to well-located land for the urban poor. DAG anticipated the Finance Minister’s announcements with interest, especially considering the challenges of rapid urbanisation coupled with an enormous housing backlog evidenced by over-crowded backyards and informal settlements, and deepening urban poverty.