DA outlines four core policy priorities in its 2024 alternative budget

DA finance shadow minister Dion George .

DA finance shadow minister Dion George .

Published Feb 19, 2024


The DA on Monday said it has formulated an alternative budget to course correct and display how it could tackle the cost of living crisis head-on and rescue the South African economy.

Briefing the media ahead of Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana’s 2024 budget on Wednesday, DA finance shadow minister Dion George said their alternative budget proposals presented an adjusted expenditure framework that reconfigured government’s spending to redirect fiscal trajectory from the current cliff towards a more sustainable future.

“It presents immediate and longer term fiscal interventions that are needed for our economy to grow and generate the jobs South Africans so desperately need,” George said.

He said their 2024 alternative budget was directed in four core policy priorities.

These were establishing the foundations for sustainable economic growth, revitalising the electricity, achieving fiscal stability and supporting vulnerable South Africans.

George said the DA government will deliver enhanced economic growth prospects by stabilising public debt and consolidating government expenditure.

“We will continue to ensure vulnerable citizens receive adequate social support programmes. We will achieve this without raising taxes or raiding the Reserve Bank’s risk reserve.”

He also said they would strengthen key institutions such as the Hawks, SAPS and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

“The NPA will also be critical to combat corruption and organised crime that compromised public safety and stunted growth.”

George added they would establish foundations for economic growth.

“Given the return of high stake blackouts and uninspiring mining and manufacturing data, South Africa has clearly not yet dodged more economic downturn and may yet experience a recession.”

He said the DA would attract foreign capital to stimulate economic growth and start removing South Africa from greylisting and do away with expropriation of land without compensation.

“This will signal to the international community that the DA is serious about addressing systemic corruption and capable of offering an investment friendly environment.”

George noted that the country has seen unprecedented blackouts which have rolled over into 2024.

The delivery of sustainable energy supply will be accelerated through the implementation of the DA’s energy sector reforms.

“The DA reiterates its call for the unbundling of Eskom and the opening of the energy sector to Independent Power Producers (IPPs), and in the interim, Eskom must prioritise the streamlining of its procurement processes while letting in private capacity to power a growing South Africa.

“By opening the energy sector, innovation and voluntary action will keep the lights on and the wheels of the economy moving towards the growth rate needed to address declining economic participation,” he said.

He added that the government’s consumption expenditure increased significantly and it resorted to debt to secure the funds necessary to finance this expenditure.

DA deputy shadow finance minister Ashor Sarupen said Godongwana had promised tough love for state-owned entities, but there was a practice of bailouts that continued unabated and was even more unsustainable.

“They fail to provide intended corporate revitalization that would have addressed underperformance and financial struggles in these entities,” Sarupen said.

He also said inefficiencies of SOEs was despite significant taxpayers’ money being injected into them.

“The reality is simply that this government cant continue to delay collapse of many moribund SOE and misplaced hope that they will self correct.”

“The DA remains firmly opposed to bailing out SOEs. This alternative budget assumes for the future no public funds will be used for this purpose,” Sarupen said.

George added that his party was committed to protecting increases in social grants with the savings realised from the DA’s targeted spending and savings, as well as the implementation of the DA’s policy framework targeted at uplifting poorer households.

“The DA further seeks to evolve the social relief of distress grant into a job seekers grant.”

He also said their alternative proposal further set out several affordable proposals for tax relief.

“Given the current cost of living emergency, fuel taxes and levies must be reduced, and an expanded zero-rated VAT food basket must be considered now, and not deferred.”

Cape Times