There is a lot to be said for a boring budget speech, such as the one that Mr Pravin Gordhan has just delivered. There was no need for him to announce any particular tough measures: no increases in income tax; no more than the usual jumps in sin taxes and fuel levies; a borrowing requirement that, although a bit higher than previously, remains low, and quite manageable, by international standards.
From the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s (EWT) perspective, the good news coming from the National Budget Speech is that there will be increased spending of about R800 million on the environment in areas of, for example, development of the green economy, wildlife trafficking and trade, air quality and water management and of course the coast line, which is in dire need of increased financial support. Wildlife trade urgently needs additional resources at all levels from anti-poaching and on-the-ground field staff/rangers, to many more investigators and Environmental Management Inspectors, and m
Finance Minister, Mr Pravin Gordhan’s budget speech provided no indication of increased support for migration issues in South Africa.
Of the R33 billion reserves that were created, the Department of Defence was assigned extra funds of R1.3 billion in 2011/12, rising to R2 billion in 2013/14. These funds are to be used for “safeguarding the country’s borders”, and to “upgrade and maintain border facilities and equipment”.
The Ecumenical Service for Socio-Economic Transformation (ESSET), an independent ecumenical organisation that works for socio-economic justice, welcomes Minister Pravin Gordhan’s 2011 Budget Speech. ESSET has evaluated the Budget Speech based on Christian life-giving and liberating ethical principles of the equitable sharing of resources for all and preferential option for the poor.
The Eastern Cape NGO Coalition welcomes the strong focus in this year’s budget on building the economy through investing in young people. Focusing on youth is a forward looking approach to developing this country’s future for all its people. Young people are the cornerstone of building a sustainable country as we continue to grow our democracy.
Mumblings, Rumblings and Observations
Minister Gordhan’s second Budget confirms his status as a pragmatic realist. The Budget contains no major shocks, but there are some surprises. It is a prudent budget insofar as there is full recognition that the effects of the Great Recession are still with us. There is also a recognition that the global economy is changing and that South Africa needs to align its national interests to these changes.
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s 2011 Budget shows why South Africa is rated as the most transparent government in accounting for its expenditure, as the document openly addresses pressing issues facing South Africa. The three biggest areas of spending are education, social protection and health. A notable inclusion is funding for the environment.
REAP welcomes the overarching priority the 2011 budget gives to development rather than welfare expenditure. This is a far more sustainable approach and evidenced by significantly increased expenditure on education and job creation schemes. We also endorse the strong emphasis on rural development.
This 2011 budget has allocated much of its revenue to education, health and job creation. It seems to be a budget that aims to support the Government’s drive to create jobs and is according to Minister Gordhan inspired by Chris Hani who said, “we want to build a nation free from hunger, disease and poverty, free from ignorance, homelessness and humiliation.”