Reaction from the Freedom Front, ACDP and the Democratic Alliance to Finance Minister Tito Mboweni's mid-term budget speech. Mboweni delivered his budget against a difficult economic backdrop, worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
PARLIAMENT - Opposition parties reacted to the medium-term budget policy statement as presented by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni on Wednesday.
Parties reacted negatively to the announcement that SAA would be receiving additional monies to facilitate its restructuring and the increase in national debt.
The DA's Geordin Hill-Lewis said the money given to SAA is unacceptable and morally indefensible as they said the funds will be sourced from cuts to basic services like the police service, healthcare and education.
He said cuts to the public sector wage bill are encouraging but voiced fears that the commitment would not be carried out.
Hill-Lewis also stated the party is concerned that changes to pension fund policy are an initial step towards asset prescription.
ACDP MP Steven Swart said the party is concerned with the "lack of stewardship" over the management of the national debt which he said generations would be paying for.
Swart said more powers should be allocated to the Asset Forfeiture Unit to recover misappropriated funds and assist in balancing the books.
The leader of the Freedom Front Plus, Pieter Groenewald, said some of the allocations don't add up.
"From the details we can see that he is actually going to take R14,1-billion from the Education Department, but it doesn't make sense. Just a couple of weeks ago, the president announced he's going to create 200,000 jobs as assistants to educators, so how can he take money from the Education Department to decrease the wage bill but he's still going to appoint 200,000 assistants.
"It just doesn't make sense," he said.
IFP MP Inkosi Mzamo Buthelezi said they are encouraged by the investment in the African Bank but raised concerns about the SAA bailout and the lack of detail, in the speech, on other state-owned enterprises.
Buthelezi said cuts to the municipal budget allocation will impact service delivery in the next few years.
The UDM's Nqabayomzi Kwankwa compared the additional funds allocated to SAA to the breadwinner of a struggling family spending money on luxuries instead of essentials.
"It makes no sense, it's almost like the provider of a family who is preoccupied with buying a Christmas tree at a time when the children are hungry, it makes no sense."
Kwankwa also raised concerns about the growing national debt and a lack of detail on how economic growth will be stimulated.
ANC Chief Whip Pemmy Majodina said the monies to be paid to SAA is not a bailout but funds allocated to complete the restructuring process at the airline.
Majodina said investment in infrastructure will be key to empowering people and improving the country's economic situation.