27 May

UASA welcomes Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s 2021 National Budget speech, which turned out to be mainly positive for the average South African after much worse was expected in terms of among other things,

tax hikes. Instead there were a number of positives looking at our current economic status.

Positives

UASA welcomes the withdrawal of the R40bn in tax increases that were planned for the next four years. Although the personal tax bracket increases by 5%, we are content that this will reduce the tax revenue benefiting workers in the middle- to lower-income brackets – a much-needed benefit for workers faced with hardship since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The call by the Department of Tourism to establish a tourism equity fund by prioritising R540 million is on point.  The tourism and hospitality industry is the most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and we welcome the cash injection that will help rebuild the sector.

The additional R11 billion on top of 2020’s R83.2 billion for the public employment programme is a positive development, but will it be enough to sustain economic growth and create enough jobs to sustain at least 15% of the 32.5% of unemployed workers this year? Plans to tackle unemployment must be more practical and sustainable.

Additional money towards the social grant is a step in the right direction for poor families who battle to survive under tough circumstances.

Lastly we welcome the R9 billion towards the free vaccine rollout plan. This will ensure that all South Africans receive the vaccine in a fair manner and will hopefully save more lives.

Concerns

UASA is concerned about the fuel levy increase. This will have a big impact on the daily lives of South Africans, but especially on the unemployed and the poorest of the poor. The increase will without a doubt affect the food prices as well as the cost of other necessities. The plight of those who have little to no disposable income is further aggravated as the cost of living continues to soar.

Disappointment

The additional R3.5 billion allocated to SA Airways (SAA) and R31.7 billion to Eskom is disappointing. Both state-owned enterprises have been in business rescue or on the verge of it without generating any sort of realistic plan to generate income like a real business should, instead relying on taxpayers’ money to keep themselves afloat.

State arms manufacturer Denel received no additional funding from the budget, despite its dire financial position. Denel employees have been without full salaries since middle last year, a situation that requires immediate intervention for the sake of the financial survival of Denel workers and their families.

As new plans have been presented to the nation we hope that approval and implementation processes will be swift and transparent and steer clear from looting and theft.

 For further enquiries or to set up a personal interview, contact Abigail Moyo at 065 170 0162.

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