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CAPE TOWN - Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba's 2018 Budget Speech has received reaction from the financial and innovation sector who claim that the changes to the budget such as the increase in social grants and proposals that have put forward will put the economy back on track and ensure global competitiveness. 

In response to Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba’s speech, Glenn Gillis, owner of innovation company Sea Monster,  focuses on the proposals put forward to fix the economy and bring back investors:

“It’s great to see the new government prioritising competitiveness internationally. There’s a real opportunity for us to compete globally with knowledge-intensive products. The creative industry specifically has demonstrated an ability to not only create jobs but create real value locally and internationally and we think this is one sector of the economy that should be prioritised.

“Clearly there’s a drive to do things differently, let’s call it innovation and without a new mindset how are we ever going to trade our way out of the mess that we find ourselves in. So it’s incumbent upon large companies specifically positioned to mobilise significant resources, not to take wild risks but to invest in local companies who have demonstrated an ability to deliver world class solutions. So let’s follow that innovation mindset, let’s build new interesting products that will work not only in SA but hopefully around the world. 

“The problems we are going to have to solve are of such a scale that we need to think differently about how we intend to drive the change in behaviour that we need to see. One way of doing that is to use the power of new digital media, to think about things like animation and games and mobile tech to really be able to offer people anywhere solutions to problems that they might be having. This isn’t something that;s going to be solved face to face or one intervention at a time. We need to get 20 million young people working and we need to use the power of digital tech, of storytelling of games as an example of ways that we can use innovative new ways to shift the future of this country at some scale.”

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Then Neil Robinson, the CEO of social enterprise Relate Trust, responds to job creation and social grant matters:

“Quite a few good things came out of the budget. I think one of them was the fact that social grants has been increased to R1700 a month, although it’s not a lot of money for people who are trying to make their way in the world.

“In the Sona the other day the president said they’re looking to create 1 million new jobs and I think the programmes at the relate trust is paramount to the young who are coming out of very difficult circumstances. Those who are particularly struggling to find jobs, that probably won’t get into university – I think the issue around free higher education for certain families is a great thing but I do think there’s going to be many who are left out of that and I think that’s where programmes like The Relate Trust will go a long way to supporting some of these kids coming out of the very poor areas of South Africa. 

“Some of the things in the budget in theory are really good. I think the premise now is to execute properly against these particular plans when it comes to what Relate does we’ve always created the opportunity for the divide to be bridged between the haves and the have nots. The programmes we run in terms of skills development… and the money we raise is significant and we must carry on to support the endeavours of government to lift people out of poverty and to create employment.

“Some challenges in the budget are around the poor that will suffer because of the VAT percentage point increase, the fuel (levy) percentage point increase, I think the poor will feel it most and it’s vitally important that social enterprise endeavours really get going, they grow, over the next two or three years such that the elderly, the young coming out of school really get the chance to further their lives, to earn money, to learn a skill and they can hopefully go onto better and brighter things. For the elderly it’s about bringing up a gen that’s very, very poor, with many grandchildren who’ve been brought up in the AIDS orphan gen – they need a chance. Their pensions, their grants are R1700 a month, so social grants are not fantastic and any programme that tries to lift their salaries up will certainly go a long way to helping them make it in the world and that’s what Relate tries to do.”  

Lastly, SA company Teljoy says it supports Gigaba’s budget:

“The budget pronounced is good for fostering economic growth,” says Teljoy financial director Jonathan Hurvitz. “The VAT increase is a long time coming to cover the deficit. The budget protects a lot of low-income earners but not there’s not much protection for the wealthy. But if revenue is collected properly and correctly appropriated then it’s a budget that will benefit the state. In the meantime, South Africans should practice financial conservatism.”  

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