Irrational and underwhelming were some of the words used by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) to describe the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) tabled by the Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana in the National Assembly on Wednesday.
Godongwana earlier told Parliament that government would embark on fiscal consolidation measures, and this could leave some departments with the same budget allocations as last year.
National Treasury, however, said it would still keep the social wage, which is currently at 61%.
The EFF rejected the proposed cuts to direct provincial conditional grants of R6.2 billion, which include the conditional grant of poverty relief and infrastructure development, the early childhood development grant, the education infrastructure grant, and other grants meant for much-needed social infrastructure.
“Our people are still using bucket toilets, children are still learning under trees, and many of our people are still living in spaceless informal settlements without clean and drinkable water. It is now evident that the National Treasury is choosing to fold its arms and watch as municipalities fail in order to further the agenda of austerity. These budget cuts are, therefore, nonsensical, senseless, and must be rejected,” the party said.
The red berets said Godongwana did not propose any tangible plans to support measures to grow the economy, saying the MTBPS did not have a believable and practical plan to stabilise government debt, which was now sitting at R4.8 trillion with annual borrowing requirements increasing to R553 billion per year.
“The EFF finds the MTBPS to be a clear and concrete indication that fiscal policy under the ANC government is directed towards the decapitation of the state and strategic assets instead of using it as an instrument for meaningful economic transformation and industrialisation, particularly the procurement budget,” it said.