Budget 'a misguided neo-liberal reliance on market forces': EFF

File: Mbuyiseni Ndlozi and other EFF MPs were not in Parliament for the budget speech on Wednesday because they said Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba should no longer be in the cabinet. Photo: eNCA/Sthembiso Zulu

CAPE TOWN - The Economic Freedom Fighters has rejected almost all proposed interventions announced in Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba's budget, saying these are too focused on market forces.

The EFF, which boycotted Gigaba's speech to Parliament on Wednesday because he has been implicated in allegations of state capture, reiterated its assertion that he was an illegitimate minister,

 

Gigaba announced a raft of tax reforms in his budget speech, including a one percentage point increase in value-added tax (VAT), a 52 cents per litre rise in the general fuel levy, and a higher estate duty tax rate of 25 percent for estates greater than R30 million.

READ: EFF wants Gigaba removed ahead of budget speech

"We further view his budget as still committed to the protection of capitalist accumulation which has not led over the past 24 years to any meaningful investments," the EFF said.

"This is characterised by refusing to raise corporate income tax, instead of punishing consumers by raising value-added tax, fuel levies as well as personal income tax."

The leftist EFF said the "misguided neo-liberal reliance on market forces" to lead economic development and resolve inequalities, create jobs and grow the economy had failed dismally.

"An economic strategy that will lead to a massive breakthrough in economic development lies in the nationalisation of banks to ensure the redirection of liquid capital sorted in our private banks into job-creating industries in our country," it said.

"Because of the dismal failure of this movement to lead meaningful and massive industrial development to create sustainable jobs, increasing grants and pension is a welcome development."

The party said the allocation of R19-billion for fee-free higher education was inadequate to fund the massive need among poor students, saying their cost of study stood at R83-billion this year alone.

But the EFF welcomed the increase of child support social grants from R380 up to R410 by October, as well as a rise from R1,600 to R1,700 in the old age, disability and care dependency grants.

It, however, bemoaned the fact that the allocation to local government remained at nine percent of total revenue.

"Local government is at the coalface of service delivery in our country, yet it gets a small allocation setting it up for failure," the EFF said.

African News Agency

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