DA leader Mmusi Maimane and DA Gauteng leader John Moodey (right) during the party's launch of a national petition opposing the VAT increase. Photo: ANA

Soshanguve - The Democratic Alliance will mobilise and march to the National Treasury to oppose the one percent increase in VAT, from 14 to 15 percent, announced in the budget this week, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said on Saturday.

"We want to march here in Tshwane, go to Treasury and say we reject the idea of an increase in VAT because it will make out people poor," he said at a DA rally in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria in Gauteng.

The increase in VAT, along with a "huge increase in fuel levies", would result in an increase in food and transport costs for all South Africans. "Instead of cutting the cabinet, the African National Congress is assaulting the people," he said at the rally to launch the DA's national petition opposing the VAT increase.

"[The] VAT [increase] is a crime against our people, it is people paying taxes for the ANC's mismanagement. We are now of the complete view that the [budget] bill has to come to parliament [and] when it comes to parliament we will reject it... even on the day of that vote, people will be marching," Maimane said.

Maimane was accompanied by DA Gauteng leader John Moodey and City of Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane (centre), DA Gauteng leader John Moodey (right), and City of Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga (left). Photo: ANA

Moodey said Gauteng had a particular interest in this issue, "especially added to the fact that we have another 52c/l hike in fuel prices". "If you add that to the already over burdened tax we have as residents of Gauteng, taking into consideration the e-tolls... it adds unnecessary to over stretched domestic budgets," he said.

Moodey said government could have generated additional revenue by selling off some state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and cutting down the cabinet.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane (right) and City of Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga (left). Photo: ANA

Maimane said that instead of cutting the fat and waste in government – unnecessary spending and bloated departments – and focusing on growth, the ANC chose to cut spending on services to poor people, including funding for housing, education, policing, and local and provincial government.

"The raising of VAT by one percentage point in effect means that we will all be paying 7.14 percent more tax on everyday goods and services. This, combined with a significant fuel levy increase, will make food and transport more expensive. It will now be more expensive to be unemployed in South Africa. Life will get harder for the most vulnerable in society over the coming months," Maimane said.

"The ANC cannot steal public money and then expect us, the people, to pay for it. South Africans are law abiding. We pay our taxes faithfully, and we deserve better than this. We will not take this lying down," he said.

The DA's budget plan had spelled out the options for spending cuts and selling off certain entities that would free up R112 billion. That meant tax increases were not necessary. But the ANC chose otherwise. The budget was "big government bullying ordinary South Africans into paying for its misdeeds. The ANC cannot make the poor pay for their looting of public money". The DA would in due course table its petition in parliament, Maimane said.

African News Agency/ANA