SAPTU is concerned that the Minister of Finance, Mr Tito Mboweni’s 2021 budget speech is just a wish list, as he confirmed that the country’s finances are still “dangerously overstretched”.
“The minister admits that the government is not ‘swimming in money’ and the high levels of government debt leads to uncertainty and a higher burden on South Africans,” says Adv Ben van der Walt, the general secretary of SAPTU (South African Parastatals and Tertiary Institutions Union). “Because of the uncertainty we are not sure that this budget will attract foreign investment. And even though we are very thankful that tax increases won’t be implemented as planned, we are fearful that the longer it is delayed, the higher the price will be in the end. Not to even mention the burden of the petrol price increase of 27 cents per litre. Where is the money coming from?”
SAPTU is however, hopeful that the investment in employment creation of nearly R100 billion – with a focus on youth employment – will empower people to earn a living and contribute to the economy. The R402,9 billion allocated for education – with more than R37 billion going towards the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) – is a step in the right direction as education grows empowerment.
“We wish that we could be optimistic about the R7 billion allocation to the Land Bank for our members in the agricultural sector, but in light of state-owned enterprises like SAA also receiving bailouts, but still grounded, we fear it might be too little too late,” says Adv Van der Walt. “Rather use those funds to compensate the frontline medical workers like our NHLS-members who have worked countless overtime hours in dangerous circumstances, to process the COVID-19 tests of South Africa. They are the ones that truly deserve more money.”
Issued by: SAPTU
Date: 24 February 2021
Enquiries: Adv Ben van der Walt, General Secretary SAPTU Cell.: 083 260 8548