Picture: Mike Hutchings/Reuters

CAPE TOWN - The Cabinet is considering expanding the list of basic goods that are zero-rated on VAT as a response to concerns raised by the public and civil society, Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said on Thursday.

Speaking at a post-cabinet briefing in Cape Town, Mokonyane said the Cabinet reflected on the concerns raised about increase of VAT from 14% to 15%.

"One of the key considerations was the addition of items that must also be zero-rated,"she said.

Mokonyane also said National Treasury with relevant ministries would look into the matter.

"There is a team of ministers led by the Department of Finance that are going to look at the issues and additional inputs that are being made.

"Once they are ready, of course they will be consulting with structures of civil society, they will bring the matters to Cabinet."

Mokonyane said the Cabinet appreciated the overwhelming confidence expressed in the 2018 National Budget.

"In the recent spirit of renewal that has gripped our great nation, Cabinet calls on all South Africans to partner with government to grow our economy and create much-needed jobs."

She described the reduction in expenditure of R85 billion over the next three years as government’s commitment to fiscal consolidation and the prudent allocation of resources to grow the economy.

"The 2018 national budget supports the poor in our society through a comprehensive social assistance programme and fee-free tertiary education for students from poor households."

Mokonyane also said the Cabinet expressed condolences to the families and friends of the five police officers and a former soldier who were recently brutally murdered in an attack at Engcobo, Eastern Cape.

"Cabinet strongly condemns any senseless killing of our servicemen and women. The loss of one police officer, soldier or any other person who serves to protect society and our people is unacceptable.

"Cabinet has committed, through the Minister of Police, to do whatever possible to capacitate our police stations to prevent such attacks in the future."

She appealed to parents and society to ensure children were kept safe at all times and to partner with law-enforcement agencies to protect the rights of children.

"Any form of abuse against a child must be exposed and reported immediately. By working together, we can keep our communities safe and ensure that criminal elements have no place to hide."

Political Bureau