By Melisizwe Mandela
FINANCE Minister Enoch Godongwana’s Mid-Term Budget Address on November 1, 2023, underscored the significant fiscal challenges that his administration has brought on our beloved nation.
To effectively address the profound economic difficulties South Africa faces, it is crucial for us to consider bold and innovative measures that can drive our country towards a brighter economic future.
One of the key areas that warrants our immediate attention is the matter of parliamentary salaries. In the spirit of leading by example, I propose that the salaries of members of Parliament undergo a thorough review, and potentially be lowered.
It is a matter of national importance, and it is imperative that we set an example from the highest echelons of leadership. Moreover, President Cyril Ramaphosa, given his substantial wealth, should take the lead in the endeavour.
He could demonstrate his unwavering dedication to the welfare of South Africa and its people by voluntarily choosing to donate his salary to the country’s coffers instead of retaining it for personal use.
Such a selfless gesture would resonate with the citizens and show that our leaders are willing to make sacrifices for the greater good.
Furthermore, it is of paramount importance that we re-evaluate the benefits and allowances that members of Parliament receive. The benefits should be aligned with the benefits available to any other employees in our nation.
This not only promotes fairness but also reflects our collective commitment to equity in a time when many South Africans are grappling with financial hardships. As we strive to bridge economic disparities and improve the quality of life for all citizens, equalising the benefits of public servants with those of the private sector would be a significant step in the right direction.
In addition to addressing the issue of parliamentary remuneration, I implore the government to consider revising the high rates of oppressive taxes. Lowering taxes will make South Africa a more attractive destination for foreign businesses and investors.
This, in turn, will stimulate economic growth and job creation, particularly for the younger generation, who are often disproportionately affected by unemployment. A more competitive tax environment is not only a way to attract investment but also a means to alleviate the tax burden on our hard-working citizens.
Finally, I would like to express my deep concerns regarding the government’s borrowing practices. It is essential to exercise caution when seeking external loans, as the burden of repayment falls upon future generations.
We must act responsibly and prudently, mindful of the fact that the young people of today will be the ones carrying the weight of the debts tomorrow. Irresponsible borrowing could lead to undue financial strain on our youth, hindering their prospects for a better future.
Therefore, I urge the government to carefully assess and limit external borrowing, ensuring that it is in the best interest of the country’s long-term financial health.
I wholeheartedly implore Godongwana and the administration to give serious consideration to these recommendations.
It is incumbent upon us to take decisive steps towards economic recovery and sustainability, ensuring that South Africa remains an attractive destination for investment and a place of opportunity for the younger generations.
By implementing the reforms, we can work together to secure a brighter and more prosperous future for our beloved nation.
Let us unite and collectively overcome the economic challenges, ensuring that South Africa and its people have a better tomorrow filled with promise, opportunity and prosperity. Together, we can shape a more equitable and prosperous future for all South Africans.
* Mayibuye Melisizwe Mandela is a citizen of the Republic of South Africa. The views expressed here are his own.