NAPTOSA COMMENT ON THE 2018 BUDGET SPEECH BY MINISTER MALUSI GIGABA – 21 FEBRUARY 2018
NAPTOSA wishes to commend Minister Gigaba for delivering an inclusive and progressive budget for the financial year 2018/19 in view of the economic challenges that South Africa is enduring. The outlined interventions and measures mentioned by the Minister to improve governance of state-owned entities, departmental expenditure and reduction of mismanagement of government is supported. ‘NAPTOSA welcomes government plans to implement effective management systems,’ said NAPTOSA president Mr Ntantala, ‘And we look forward to seeing speedy action in this regard; not just another case of hot air to appease the public.’
NAPTOSA noted Mr Gigaba’s motivation for the 1% increase in VAT and amendments to below inflation personal tax increases as, ‘Difficult but necessary trade-offs’, in order to educate the youth and continue to protect the vulnerable. NAPTOSA welcomes the R57 billion allocation towards first year students’ higher education costs. ‘We have a responsibility to ensure that logistical implementation and the use of taxpayers’ monies is transparent and honest,’ said Mr Ntantala.
While NAPTOSA accepts the statement by Minister Gigaba that future generations should not be burdened by current government overspending and inefficiency in correcting itself for the benefit of the poor and most vulnerable, he ignored the fact that the VAT and fuel levy increases will impact them nonetheless.
The Minister’s acknowledgment of the negative impact of the unstable political and economic challenges that the current South African government refused to acknowledge is cold comfort to the millions who have suffered hardship because of these decisions. ‘However, NAPTOSA is willing to give the government, under its new leadership, a chance to redeem itself and create a better South Africa for all’ said Mr Ntantala.
NAPTOSA wishes to bring to the attention of Minister Gigaba and government that the presented budget will have a negative effect on all middle income citizens considering that 80% of personal income tax is paid by just over 25% of the South African population. Included in the 25% of taxpayers are our teachers. NAPTOSA wishes to remind government that educators fall in the “missing middle” for whom there is little comfort in this budget.
NAPTOSA is pleased at measures to budget R21,7 billion towards feeding our learners. ‘We hope that some of the R3.8 billion allocated to school infrastructure will not only make a difference to those 550 schools whose water and sanitation challenges will finally be solved; but that deliberate and serious attention is given to the safe transportation of our learners to and from school,’ said Mr Ntantala.
The R792 billion allocation for Basic Education is welcomed, and NAPTOSA is pleased with the envisioned R31.7 billion to build new schools and upgrade existing ones. The awarding of 39 000 Fundza Lushaka bursaries to prospective mathematics, science and technology educators addresses a vital need in teaching.
NAPTOSA supports the intention and effects of the sugar tax as a health promoting measure.
‘NAPTOSA remains optimistic that inefficient government departments and institutions will be brought to book, and supports Minister Gigaba’s call to public representatives and officials to subject themselves to public scrutiny,’ concluded Mr Ntantala.
End of statement
Enquiries: Mr Nkosiphedule “Star” Ntantala – 072 198 0599
Mr Basil Manuel – 079 508 6228