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Cry of the Xcluded demand urgent legislation and policies in place for basic income grant

Cry of the Xcluded Anti-Austerity Campaign protest outside Parliament ahead of the reading of the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency

Cry of the Xcluded Anti-Austerity Campaign protest outside Parliament ahead of the reading of the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency

Published Nov 12, 2021

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Cape Town - The government has been told that it must develop a legislative and policy framework for a universal basic income grant (BIG).

This was just one of the demands from various groups who joined a march on parliament ahead of Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana presentation of the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS).

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The groups were led by anti-austerity movement Cry of the Xcluded.

Handing over a memorandum of demands to the national treasury’s deputy director-general Stadi Mngomezulu at parliament's gates, Cry of the Xcluded leader Zwelinzima Vavi said they wanted the government to put aside a R1 billion stimulus package to intervene in the economy to prevent job losses.

Vavi, who is also general secretary of the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), said the money should come from illicit cash outflows that he claimed were being encouraged by the government when it allowed big corporations to take money out of South Africa.

“Our most urgent and pressing demand is an end to austerity. Cutting the budget in a time of economic stagnation will destroy the very tools and resources we need to jump-start the economy.

“This requires a huge mobilisation of state resources that will pump life back into our economy.

“Alongside this, is our demand for an end to casualisation and temporary work. EPWP workers must be in-sourced and given the benefits afforded to permanent workers. Decent work must be created at a living wage,” he said.

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Cry of the Xcluded Anti-Austerity Campaign protest outside Parliament ahead of the reading of Medium Term Budget Policy Statement Picture Leon Lestrade

Others who joined the march, calling for permanent basic income support for those aged 18 to 59 years, included the Black Sash, the Solomon Tshuku Advice Centre, Ubuntu Rural Women and Youth Movement and Girls Potential Unlimited.

Black Sash national advocacy manager Hoodah Abrahams-Fayker said that included among the group’s general demands for the MTBPS was that the Social Relief of Distressed (SRD) grant be immediately increased to R624, which would at the very least bring it to the food poverty line.

Among other demands were for urgent steps to be taken to tackle climate change, including the roll out of a just transition or social interventions needed to secure workers' rights and livelihoods, as the economy shifts to sustainable production in an effort to combat climate change.

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