Cape Town, Wednesday 21 February 2018
Anything but a “Robin Hood” budget
For immediate release
Today’s budget is an example of robbing the poor to buttress the rich and is anything but a “Robin Hood” budget, according to Archbishop Emeritus Njongonkulu Ndungane.
The Archbishop said that far from taxing those who can afford to pay them, the government’s budget effectively robs the poor of any hope in the short term of improving their lot.
“Even though the increase in social grants and in pensions are above the rate of inflation, they will simply be swallowed up in the increase in the VAT rate from 14% to 15% and in the 52c a litre increase in the fuel levy.
“The truth is that the looting through state capture of the Zuma administration has now caught up with us, and, once again, it is the poor who are going to suffer the brunt of the burden of balancing our budget,” he said.
Treasury’s belief that the ability to raise the corporate tax rate is limited in the light of global competition is a clear admission the corporate shareholders are being shielded from unwieldy tax hikes, which can only be at the expense of the person in the street, including the poor, the Archbishop said.
At the same time, he welcomed the new administration’s intention to reduce a bloated cabinet and number of government departments, and the renewed determination to decrease the drain of state-owned entities on the fiscus.
“Now we need action to back up the laudable words of new President Cyril Ramaphosa on SOEs.”
He added that one of the pleasing aspects of the budget is that no provision has been made for any expenditure on the proposed nuclear build programme over the next three years.
“We trust that this means that our government is finally saying a very firm ‘no’ to the nuclear programme, and that this foolhardy pet project of former President Jacob Zuma is being thrown out of the window once and for all. In its place, government needs to look with greater seriousness at alternative forms of energy generation,” he added.
Note: Archbishop Emeritus Njongonkulu Ndungane is the former Archbishop of Cape Town. He held this office as head of the Anglican Church in South Africa for 11 years from September 1996 to September 2007 when he retired. As a long-standing champion of the poor, Archbishop Ndungane chaired two poverty hearings – one in 1998 and the other in 2008 – during which he gained first-hand experience of the living conditions of poor people. He is currently the Executive Director of the Historic Schools Restoration Project (an initiative to restore the historic schools of South Africa) and President of African Monitor (an independent continent-wide organisation that monitors the development of grassroots communities).
Issued on behalf of Archbishop Emeritus Njongonkulu Ndungane by Quo Vadis Communications cc
Ruth Coggin 082-903-5819; firstname.lastname@example.org