/ 16 February 2010

‘It’s going to be a tough budget to deal with’

The Mail & Guardian asked businesses in Rosebank, Johannesburg, what goodies they hope Pravin Gordhan has in his Budget basket.

Colin Wesley, owner of Wesley’s Fine Tobacconists
“We would like no increase on tobacco products, but we know it will happen; it happens all over the world. We’re no different. [Our customers] will tighten their belts a little, maybe buy things that are a little less expensive, but after a while things will go back to normal.”

Beryl Green, co-owner of Mother Hubbard Tuisnywerheid, and her daughter, Amanda, who works in the store
“It’s very difficult for entrepreneurs to get the finance to start up their small businesses, it’s very risky. But entrepreneurship is the way of the future. We would like the government to invest as much money as possible into small businesses. We don’t really know what to expect from the budget. We know it’s going to be a tough budget to deal with, but we hope it will be beneficial. We would also like them to widen the tax base, to get money from more people.”

Ken McNamara, owner of Flowerite
“From this year’s budget I would like to see some way the government can revive retail sale. It’s at the worst level it’s ever been at, and this is after we’ve just had Valentine’s Day, which is supposed to be the biggest time of the year for us. I have no idea what to expect from the budget, as it’s a new minister. To help retail pick up I would like them to drop interest rates dramatically, but I know that’s not going to happen. But if there were major cuts, people might be inclined to start spending money again.”

Harsha Kanji, manager at Flight Centre Rosebank
“It depends more on what Pravin can do within the parameters of his job, than what’s in it for me. He has to make decisions on such a big scale, will I really be affected? No. We normal working-class people just try to do our thing. What Pravin says in his speech won’t help me to convert an air-ticket enquiry into a sale.”

Liezl Gericke, general manager (South Africa), STA Travel
“Travel is a luxury product, and we have seen a definite improvement in turnover since 2009. I would like Pravin to help us make the most of the opportunities to recover. He must try to put disposable income into the pockets of South Africans. I would like to see a return to stability, security and trust in the economy.”

Shadrack Tutbala, manager of Kauai, Rosebank
“Sometimes you can’t confirm [what will be in the budget] because they’ve already planned what they are going to say. For example, social-grant age limits could go up to the age of 21 — not just for people fresh out of school [18], because they need the support [until] they can end up standing on their own feet.”

Shaamilah Doola, owner of Verve Health and Beauty
“I’m not expecting anything from the budget really, nothing to help small businesses. Maybe there will be a small reduction in taxes, but that’s not really going to make a difference to us.”

Kalay Nayager, owner of Dream Nails, Rosebank
“I don’t know if anything in the budget can do anything major for my store. Beauty is a luxury.”

What are you expecting? Let us know in the comments section below.