YCLSA Statement on the Budget Speech
23 February 2017
The Young Communist League of Africa [uFasimba] note the Budget Speech presented by the Minister of Finance on behalf of the government of the Republic of South Africa.
We believe that it was a relatively well-balanced speech, especially in the midst of a global economic reality that is still recovering from low growth rates and grappling with high levels of indebtedness.
We welcome the commitment to finalizing legislation relating to mining development and land redistribution.
We welcome the increase in social grants. This will increase the aggregate demand in the economy by putting money in the hands of consumers to afford goods and services, especially in the context of rising consumer price inflation.
The YCLSA believes that, such initiatives must be accompanied by a comprehensive social security system that will cater for the economically distressed workers, unemployed youth and poor communities.
We also welcome the commitment to redistributive initiatives in support of education, health services - which include a specific fund for NHI.
The YCLSA is however shocked by government debt standing at R2.2 trillion, constituting 50.7 per cent of Gross Domestic Product.
We foresee the likelihood of a costly trade-off between the provision of social services - which is said to be the central thrust of government expenditure outlook, and the servicing or stabilizing of the debt to avoid interest rate hikes, unsustainable commitments and possible credit rating downgrades. The YCLSA believes that with such an amount of debt, the sovereignty of the country is at stake.
We therefore call upon National Treasury and the entire government to do whatever it takes to stave off debt levels - which constantly accrue interests - that threaten both the developmental imperatives and the sovereignty of the nation-state. One way of doing that is to deal decisively with corruption and any form of the embezzlement of monies meant for public service. We need to push back the frontiers of the corporate capture of the state to realize the ideal of an inclusive economy.
Lastly, the YCLSA calls upon government to re-direct investment to the labor-intensive or productive sectors of the economy, e.g mining, agriculture, manufacturing etc, which would accommodate an unskilled and semi-skilled workforce, instead of relying on the service sector which only accommodates a few skilled work force.
This will go a long way in alleviating unemployment, poverty and reducing inequalities.
In actual fact, this is what must constitute a programme of industrialization as a far-reaching aspEct of a radical economic transformation trajectory. It is within this context that the macroeconomic policy framework must be crafted to reverse the implications of a neoliberal economic reality.
Issued by YCLSA Media
YCLSA National Spokesperson
Molaodi Wa Sekake
078 164 3668