Disappointed

Lynette Maart, national director, Black Sash

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni in his speech on Wednesday October 24 said: “Poor services and corruption has hit the poor hardest.”

The Black Sash is disappointed that the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement will bring very little relief to the poor. The poor are becoming poorer.

We note the zero VAT on sanitary towels, bread flour and cake flour which is a step in the right direction, but this is insufficient. We remain concerned about the impact of the VAT increase and the fuel price on the poor.

We note with concern the decommissioning of South Africa Social Security Agency (SASSA) pay points as “more recipients are paid through the national payment system”.Grant beneficiaries, the poorest of the poor, in rural and peri-urban areas are funding government’s decommissioning plan as they are paying additional transport and bank charges, among others.

The Black Sash is concerned that National Treasury is working on a high growth scenario “which assumes long-run growth of 3.3 per cent”, while economists are predicting economic growth of 1% to 2%.

The blight of unemployment is worsening, with the youth being especially hard hit. In the first quarter of 2018 youth made up 63.5% of the total number of unemployed South Africans, according to Stats SA.

The Black Sash notes that the unemployment crisis is showing no sign of slowing down.