ANC happy with Gordhan's budget

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. (David Harrison, M&G)

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. (David Harrison, M&G)

"I'm quite happy in the sense that we are beginning to see numbers now allocated to a programme that has evolved over a period of time," said ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe.

Gordhan said his 2013 budget was part of the implementation of the national development plan.

Mantashe said the expenditure figures on education, housing and health fitted well with the party's plans of advancing the economy. He said it was pleasing that government was not spending on consumption but investment for the future.

"Citizens should not worry about the budget deficit being beyond 40% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).

" ... You are investing in infrastructure, therefore the deficit is increasing. You are not wasting that money. You are putting it to increase the capacity of the economy and increase the engine of the economy to the future," he said.

On government's effort to fight corruption, Mantashe said: "Results you will see when you want to see them. The problem with us in South Africa is that sometimes we close our eyes to progress. We always look for the negative all the time."

DA policies
Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance said Gordhan has opened the door to several of its policies in the 2013 budget. 

"He has opened the door to some DA policies – first and foremost the idea that the youth wage subsidy is back. In a watered down form it's about R5-million for that youth wage subsidy," DA finance spokesperson Tim Harris said.

"The previous incarnation was R1.6-billion, nevertheless, it is there and I hope he has the political capital to implement it."

Harris said Gordhan had to see through the idea of the subsidy. "If he actually does what he said today ... it will make a big impact on creating jobs for young people. However, three years ago he announced the same thing and Cosatu's opposition prevented it from being implemented."

He also welcomed the idea that special economic zones would receive "boosted" tax incentives.

"These are ideas that the DA has been talking about for years and we are very pleased to see strong incentives like this in the budget."

Gordhan said while tabling the budget that tax incentives to employ young people, and for people employed in the special economic zones, were on the cards.

He said a revised youth employment incentive would be tabled in the National Assembly, together with a proposed employment incentive for special economic zones.

Litmus test
The implementation of Gordhan's budget will be the litmus test to judge its success, Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder said outside Parliament.

"Let's be thankful there is a plan ... the test will be the implementation," said Mulder.

He said last year's labour unrest caused R17-billion in a loss of revenue and a rise in debt but the balanced nature of the budget served to address the short-fall.

Mulder was pleased with Gordhan's announcement that the chief procurement office (CPO) was being set up as a means to combat corruption.

"The risk may be a bottle neck. There are many plans that can happen. Let's give it [the CPO] a chance because nothing is working."

But he expressed unhappiness with the government opting to increase the fuel levy. "We are very positive on corruption though disappointed with the fuel levy," said Mulder. – Sapa

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