Editor's note: The budget speech by Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba placed a greater burden on the taxpaying public in order to plug holes in an ailing economy. Briefly.co.za editor, Stefan Mack, takes a look at how the poor have no choice but to stay poor.
The ANC's radical economic transformation policy appears to have been shelved for now in the wake of Malusi Gigaba's budget speech. Despite Cyril Ramaphosa's rousing State of the Nation Address which promises to address the challenges facing the poor, Gigaba's speech made it clear that the gap between the has and have-nots will be here for a while.
Poverty is a cloud that has been hanging over South Africa for as long as anyone can remember. This will not change especially with a VAT and fuel levy hike which will see food and transport prices rise.
More than 14 million poor people go to bed hungry each night in South Africa. The high levels of corruption and the lack of will to make the necessary reforms have resulted in the poor and vulnerable having to pay for the government's mistakes.
The ANC is a capitalist government which still heavily exploits the black working class, this is evident in the lack of change for miners, farm workers and those that toil in the factories through the country.
Rich get richer
South Africa faces the hard reality that the political elite is a self-serving elite who are ready and willing to use state power and resources to brutalise and keep the masses imprisoned in the servitude of poverty.
This is evident in the economic policy choices which further entrench inequality. The increase in the VAT and the fuel levy while corporate tax remains untouched speaks volumes to this. As long as political parties donations are kept secret big business can pay their way to bigger profits at the expense of the people.
The ruling party is a clear example of this. R72-million was paid to Chancellor House, the ANC's front company, for consulting fees for the construction of Medupi and Kusela Power Stations. This saw the contracts for the power plants explode from R30-billion to R300-billion.
The current shortfall in the fiscus has been created by deals of this nature which drain the government and country of its resources.
Stealing from the poor
Citizens are now paying the price for years of graft and maladministration. The widening inequality and lack of service delivery are a clear result of irregular expenditure and corruption of the government.
The government made promises for radical economic transformation but the latest budget speech makes it clear that poor are going to be kept in their place. This can only go on for so long before the oppressed rise up and no amount of political rhetoric will be able to cure the rage of the poor and exploited masses.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Brieflyco.za.
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