Cry of the Xcluded Supports call for Parliament to reject 2021 Budget
Statement by the Cry of the Xcluded
10 March, 2021
The Cry of the Xcluded, supports the Open Letter endorsed by more than 200 signatories, including social movements, trade unions, civil society organisations and concerned individuals, calling on Parliament to reject the 2021 budget.
We, representing organizations of the employed and unemployed, call on the members of parliament to reject the 2021 budget that has been proposed by the Treasury. As things stand the proposed budget will result in cuts of over R265 billion over the next three years at a time when 1.4 million people have lost their jobs, on top of the existing 11 million who are without jobs. At the same time the treasury has been adamant about reneging on the public wage sector bill, which will result in the further decimation of the public sector denying us the very same services we need to survive.
The strengthening of the public sector is essential for any prospects of a just recovery from the pandemic. This is something our government fails to recognise.
We are glad that the government no longer speaks about the R500 Billion ‘stimulus’ last year, as this was found to be a complete distortion. But now Tito is claiming this is not an Austerity budget. However, it clearly is, with the budget noting that “consolidated non-interest spending will contract at an annual real average rate of 5.2%” , coupled with increased regressive taxes in times of economic downturn – these measures are in fact the very definition of austerity.
The effects of this austerity budget are due to be catastrophic, with the Treasury admitting that when it comes to education: “Low compensation growth of 0.8% per year [without taking inflation into account!] over the MTEF period… will reduce the number of teachers. This coupled with a rising number of learners, implies larger class sizes..”.
This is true for all the other services with proposed cuts of over R67 billion to public health. Among the more cruel cuts is the proposed cut of R36 billion to social grants which will affect the 18 million South Africans the families who rely on them for survival. The list of affected services goes on and on. This reality of less money allocated to services will hit the working class, employed and unemployed the hardest. Alternatives exist, but as long as our country pursues an austerity agenda they cannot be achieved.
As we highlighted at our inaugural Real Jobs Summit in 2020 to create an economy that #WorksForUs requires an end to austerity now more than ever is a huge mobilisation of state resources to pump life back into our economy towards a radical green new deal.
Funding this is an imperative that requires we increase taxes on the rich, instead Mboweni has inexplicably decided to propose lower corporate taxes and income taxes. More than R11 billion in revenue lost, this could be used to pay for proper increases to the grants. This budget takes us back to GEAR, the pro-business budget is making the poor pay for the mess we are in, and at the same time we will see more money in the bank accounts of the very rich and corporations
Taxes on the wealthy and corporations, as well as putting an end to profit shifting and wage evasion, would help provide the basis for a Basic Income Grant for the unemployed that the government keeps on mentioning but does not deliver. We also need a moratorium on retrenchments and the implementation of a living wage.
- We need to revitalise Eskom, and transform our energy sector to one that protects workers, communities and the environment – we need a full public renewable energy industry.
- We also need the government to mobilise the resources required to fix our dysfunctional public transport system and bring it to the 21st century.
- It would mean greater support for a widespread land-reform program geared towards strengthening food sovereignty and ownership of land among the people. In this regard, we don’t only need land for food, we need land for dignified housing and recreation.
None of this can happen as long as the government continues to spend less and less on the most basic services. Parliament must reject this austerity budget, in its place a budget that speaks to the needs of poor working class South Africans must be advanced.
For more details:
For the Assembly of the Unemployed: Khokhoma Motsi – 27 73 490 7623
For the South African Federation of Trade Unions: Zwelinzima Vavi – 079 182-4170
The Cry of the Xcluded was launched by South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU), the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) and the Assembly of the Unemployed (AoU) on 12 February 2020 to unite the working class – employed and unemployed – in the struggle for jobs, services, and dignity.