Budget 2019: EFF and DA detail key issues for Mboweni to prioritise

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the Democratic Alliance (DA) are gearing up for Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s budget speech on Wednesday with a list of major concerns which they believe Mboweni must prioritise.

The EFF has called on Mboweni to present a “people’s development-oriented” budget speech, which they say must include an announcement that pension and social grants will be doubled.

In a nine-point plan, the Red Berets are also applying pressure on Mboweni to revert the Value Added Tax (VAT) rate back to 14%, instead of the 15% where it currently stands. The party said corporate income tax should instead be increased.

“It is time companies make a fair contribution instead of being subsidised by workers and poor people,” the EFF said in a statement on Tuesday.

Eskom will be a major issue Mboweni is expected to address in his speech. The power utility — which President Cyril Ramaphosa said will be restructured — has been undergoing a sharp decline that is partly believed to have resulted in nationwide load-shedding at the beginning of February. The loadshedding also coincided with Ramaphosa’s announcement that Eskom would be unbundled, leading to suspicion from critics that the blackouts were a strategic response to the restructuring.

For the EFF, Eskom’s financial troubles can be partly blamed purchasing power agreements signed with Independent Power Producers (IPPs). The EFF has called on the agreements to be cancelled, because of losses Eskom was incurring.

“Now Eskom debt has increased to more than R450 billion,” the EFF said.

The DA, meanwhile, is calling on Mboweni to present a plan to increase South Africa’s economic growth to an “average of at least 3%”.

“The Minister should announce a package of structural reforms designed to boost investor confidence, and consumer confidence, and therefore private sector investment,” Alf Lees, DA Shadow Minister of Finance, said on Tuesday.

State-owned enterprises must also be addressed, Lees said, especially Eskom’s financial crisis.

“In the end there is now no escaping massive bailouts in some form to save Eskom financially, and South Africans will once again be forced to pay for the wrongdoings of the ANC,” he said.

Mboweni will present his budget speech on Wednesday in Parliament. 

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Raeesa Pather
Raeesa Pather
Ra’eesa Pather is a Cape Town-based general news and features journalist.

‘My biggest fear was getting the virus and dying in...

South African Wuhan evacuee speaks about his nine-week ordeal

Border walls don’t stop viruses, but a blanket amnesty might

Why South Africa should consider amnesty for undocumented migrants in the time of the coronavirus outbreak.

Mail & Guardian needs your help

Our job is to help give you the information we all need to participate in building this country, while holding those in power to account. But now the power to help us keep doing that is in your hands

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories