/ 23 February 2022

Budget 2022: EFF says foreign loans are ‘a death trap’

February 23 2022 Minister Enoch Godongwana Delivers His Budget
The EFF's Mbuyiseni Ndlozi during Minister Enoch Godongwana's budget speech in the Good Hope Chamber in Parliament, Cape Town. (Photo: David Harrison)

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) say the government’s foreign loans are a “death trap” that will burden the country’s descendants, not the current governing party, and called for fewer budget cuts ahead of Wednesday’s 2022 budget speech.

“The EFF is marching against parasitic loans that we continue to receive from the International Monetary Fund [IMF] and the World Bank,” said EFF spokesperson Sinawo Tambo. 

Tambo argued international loans are “a death trap that is going to burden the children of South Africa and not the current regime,” in that billions are being paid “without seeing it improving the lives of people in our communities”.

The EFF marched to parliament when Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana, delivered his budget speech. 

Talking to the Mail & Guardian before the march, Tambo claimed that international loans undermined the country’s democracy. 

“The IMF and World Bank dictate what our political and economic policies must be based on them giving us money.”

He says the EFF is also against “liberalising the economy” to include foreign investment, because this does not grow the economy or create jobs.

The EFF addressed a crowd outside parliament during the national budget speech on what the party expected the budget to include: “Further austerity, more cuts to higher and basic education and healthcare,” argued Tambo over the chant of supporters gathering opposite the Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s District 6 campus ahead of the march.

Labour march 

In a separate march, various labour groups — including the South African Municipal Workers Union’s Back to Work Campaign, Amandla Botshabelo Unemployed Movement and the Unemployed People’s Movement — lobbied for land, employment and a basic income grant. 

The national co-ordinator for the Assembly of Unemployed, Khokhoma Motsi, says the organisation demanded a basic income grant of R1 500. 

Motsi echoed the EFF’s sentiment that the budget should not be one of austerity. “It means more cuts across the departments: we talk about education, health and masses not being employed for the coming years,” Motsi argued. 

“We demand a basic income grant of R1 500 and Saftu (South African Federation of Trade Unions) is supporting us on that.” 

Saftu indicated it does not support the basic education budget cut from R281-billion to R279-billion for the 2023-24 financial year. In addition, it also does not support the health sector’s cut from R259-billion in 2021-22 to R243-billion in the next financial year. 

The union federation says budget cuts will have substantial consequences on various governmental departments. According to Saftu, the education department in KwaZulu-Natal already has reduced its employees by 6 000, and the Western Cape has the worst teacher-to-learner ratio, at 1:37, instead of the preferred ratio of 1:20.