JOHANNESBURG - The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) said on Tuesday that it was expecting "business as usual" from Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba's mini-budget, adding that Gigaba was part of the country's economic problems.
Gigaba, who took over the reins of the National Treasury following the controversial firing of Pravin Gordhan in April, will deliver his first Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) in Parliament on Wednesday. He will have his work cut out as he sets out the fiscal policy objectives and spending priorities over the three-year expenditure period.
"It will be 'business as usual' with assurances to rich investors that their money is safe with him while the poor will be left even further behind,” Saftu said in a statement. It said the mid-term budget will give Gigaba the opportunity to reveal whether was committed to 'radical economic transformation' and 'inclusive growth'.
"Safu is confident that he will be exposed as a fake. He may use a few 'radical' phrases and lament South Africa's sad 'legacy of left-behind people', as he recently called the poor, but his policy will be just a new bottle for the same old rancid wine of World Bank-inspired neoliberalism," Saftu said. "Any seriously radical budget statement has to be brutally honest about the economic catastrophe which his government, including his predecessors at the Treasury, have bequeathed to him and not pretend that a bit of tinkering with the budget will rectify it."
Saftu said Gigaba, as a "champion of "transformation", would have to clarify how his party was presiding over the country's high unemployment rate, account for poverty figures, and runaway inequality.
"The reality is of course that Gigaba will be silent about all these matters, since he is himself deeply implicated in all of them. He is a major part of the problem rather than the bringer of a solution. To expect any positive solutions is to expect a fire-fighter to dowse the inferno with a flame-thrower," Saftu said.
- African News Agency (ANA)