While it should be appreciated that the government has placed education as a priority within the budget, it is still our deep feeling that greater action is required. The Minister talks at length about the huge employment drive wherein companies will be reimbursed via the tax system if they employ inexperienced young people – he boldly estimates that 800 000 young people stand to benefit in this way. This is highly commendable.
The newly-appointed Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan presented the 2010/11 National Budget to Parliament on 17 February 2010 in Cape Town.
As in the past few years, SANGONeT is pleased to present you with the comments and perspectives of various NGOs in response to the budget.
Issues covered by the NGO comments range from general observations about the budget to key development priorities such as education, social services, gender, urbanisation, children and health.
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.
The debate on Corporate Social Investment (CSI) continues to raise the issue of where the line is between the responsibilities of government and the role business can play through voluntary social contributions in socio-economic development.
12 February 2010
Should the World Bank grant a US$3.75 billion (R28.125 bn) loan to Eskom when the Bank Board meets on March 24? No. We South African and African organisations which for years have advocated social and environmental justice here and abroad, oppose Eskom’s proposed Bank loan – and indeed its new construction programme more generally, for several reasons.
The Department of Social Development in the Western Cape will fund fewer NGOs in the coming financial year. This was announced by MEC Ivan Meyer.
Meyer says one-thousand-eight-hundred NGOs and NPOs have been audited to determine which of them have provided the best quality service to people in the province.
"Given that our current economic circumstances force us to do more with less, this government intends to empower the best NGO and NPO bodies to further improve and expand their services to the people of this province," says Meyer.