Response to the Budget Speech by the Minister of Finance
23 February 2012
The Young Communist League of South Africa [Ufasimba] notes and appreciates the Budget Speech presented by the Minister of Finance as a positive move in ensuring that we address the majority of our developmental challenges as a state.
The budget focused primarily on the implementation and adequately addressed the majority of the plans that the President raised in his State of the Nation Address therefore giving us confidence. We are glad that the government has come to the realisation that capitalism remains the most exploitative system and by its nature has no feeling or care for the people and is anti-humanistic transformation of society.
The realisation by government that intervention is necessary for the growth of the economy and to address the majority of the challenges faced by society is evident that a developmental state is being realised. The economy needs to be stimulated and a move from nominal growth must be the order of the day as job creation must be central to initiatives of government. While commending commitment by government on focusing on economic growth, we would like to reiterate our position that economic growth should be dialectical as opposed to being dichotomous: it should not grow while shedding lots of jobs; it should grow within the confines of creating more job opportunities within the context of our demand for decent work.
As regards infrastructural investment, we hope that government will ensure that such an initiative does not only seek to entrench economic enclaves in our country where only the rich and business stand to benefit more than the toiling poor masses of our people on the ground.
Infrastructural development should not only involve the building of big roads that only link multinational corporations with harbours and airports, big stadiums and big shopping malls which do not directly benefit the poorest of the poor masses, but it should mainly focus on building more schools in rural areas where many young people travel long kilometres to reach not just schools but mud schools. It should focus on building economically dynamic human settlement apartments (housing) that enable beneficiaries to also participate in the economic activity so as to sustain their livelihoods where they live. Infrastructural investment should focus on building access roads in our rural areas and roads that link these communities with schools, clinics and other socially beneficial centres of our poor communities.
Our opposition to the Youth Wage subsidy remains firm and we will not tolerate nor be flexible in our views in the face of brutal youth exploitation. We call on the government to consider the proposals we have made before around decreasing youth unemployment coupled with economic growth. We have proposed a basket of interventions in the past such as mass-scale employment.
We therefore support a comprehensive approach to youth employment which includes an integrated seamless education, skilling and development programme that will benefit young people and prepare them to contribute to our nation in their various capacities and in turn develop themselves in building the next layer of economically active generation. In the same token we support this skills revolution in the context of our campaign on making education fashionable, as opposed to "scratch and win" tender-preneurship tendencies that seem to afflict young people in our society.
The government must ensure Expanded Public Works Programme is well articulated and is implemented majorly at local government level. Entrants into the EPWP should progress through a tiered programme of skills development commensurate to the wage and level of employment and this should be done in conjunction with the FET sector and the direct involvement of the various SETAs.
It is important that the investment in the non-state sectors of our economy continues to increase labour absorption and to serve as a catalyst for experience provision to young people who are alienated by calls of lack of experience.
We further commend the appointment of Procurement Officers in the fight against corruption and to regulate the procurement processes of government. The Minister is correct that "There can be no compromise on the basic principles of sound financial management in ensuring that resources are mobilised efficiently to serve our people."
However we also want to highlight that corruption is inherent within the capitalist mode of production and its selfish individualistic nature which defeats the progressive intentions of government. A lot more needs to be done to fight this inherent scourge of corruption as it has seen the collapse of financial and accounting systems in Limpopo and numerous departments across South Africa which have been put under administration as per section 100 of our constitution.
We need to focus on the de-tenderisation of the state and our development initiatives and call for government invest more on vocational education and training needs of our people for them to become directly involved in their development, working together. There is no need for services such as cleaning, access roads, feeding scheme at schools, maintenance of schools, building of houses, etc to be procured from the private sector when these can be mass scaled employment under local cooperatives.
We are of the view that the government allocation towards e-tolling does not help the situation as the YCL in Gauteng has raised in the past that "rather than elite-based transport infrastructure development trajectory that characterises much of the policies that have been implemented in Gauteng over the past years it is actually the advancement of an integrated, accessible, safe, reliable and affordable public transport system that represents a long lasting solution." The government should ensure that it takes cognisance of the fact that the majority of our people cannot afford these costs and the impact on their lives will further push them into the poverty trap.
Issued by the YCLSA HQ
083 617 5546