Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is set to table his Medium-term Budget Policy Statement on Wednesday. File Photo: IOL

JOHANNESBURG – With Finance Minister Tito Mboweni tabling his Medium-term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) on Wednesday, UASA has identified a few major issues we would like to see solutions to or at least cleared up during the Minister’s speech.

Tax revenue

The first of these is tax revenue. The South African taxpayers’ trust in the SA Revenue Service (Sars) is declining rapidly because of the estimated R60 billion shortfall that taxpayers expect to have to pay for. The working class is under immense pressure due to high costs of living and are reaching a point where they may start dodging taxes because they simply cannot afford to pay more.

Eskom plan

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on Tuesday announced the plan regarding Eskom. We expect a clear, decisive and unforgiving plan to turn Eskom around once and for all. Throwing money at the state-owned company whenever it threatens with load shedding will not cut it any longer in the eyes of the already suspicious taxpaying public. 

The last thing we need is another fly-by-night chief executive who leaves within a year of being appointed, as we have already seen no less than 10 CEOs at the company over the past decade. 

Tax-gobbling SAA

South African Airways (SAA) is another tax gobbling state-owned company that has emptied taxpayers’ pockets for decades. President Cyril Ramaphosa said at the Financial Times Africa Summit in London the airline was in discussion with a number of interested private sector parties and other potential partners. South Africa needs to know the way forward to make SAA break even and stop relying on citizens to fill its coffers.

We need more clarity on minister Mboweni’s plan for the South African economy as published on the website of National Treasury. South Africans need to know the way forward towards a growing economy that will benefit all by creating jobs and a better life for South Africans. This would also go a long way in restoring confidence with the international ratings agencies such as Moody’s, who is set to announce a ratings update on November 1.

Cash-strapped Denel

Denel failed to supply R250 million worth of army vehicles to the government of Chad, despite having been paid a R100 million deposit almost two years ago. Chad has cancelled the deal and wants its money back. This at a time when the state arms company can hardly pay its employees and is receiving billions in state bailouts. 

This cannot go on any longer, we cannot have employees not getting their salaries or receiving part of their salaries when they are continually meeting their end of the employment agreement. It is not fair to these already cash strapped employees.

Water security

Water security is fast becoming a problem. We have received messages from the Department of Water and Sanitation that we do not have a crisis, words that government used several times in the last few years that have always ended in big surprises, for instance when load shedding was the net result. 

We might be running out of water and we need to use our water wisely. Given the various challenges we have had with little to no rainfall as a result of climate change. UASA would like to know government’s plan to ensure a reliable and cost effective solution amid droughts and climate change? 

Should this not be the time for the government to ramp up programmes to counter climate change in our country and abroad?

South Africans need honesty and transparency. We cannot carry on waiting for solutions while our problems are getting worse. We need clear leadership and direction from the government.

Stanford Mazhindu is the spokesperson of the trade union UASA.

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