Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana recently presented his mid-term budget plan in parliament, sparking a wave of criticism from various political parties regarding his fiscal approach.
DA’s Rejection of the Enoch Godongwana Budget Plan
The Democratic Alliance (DA) outrightly rejected the minister’s plan, arguing that it is yet another indication of the government’s lack of an effective strategy to accelerate economic growth, resolve persistent blackouts, stabilize debt, control runaway expenditure, support vulnerable South Africans, and combat corruption. The DA’s Dion George acknowledged the government’s plan to accelerate private-public partnerships to rebuild South Africa’s crumbling infrastructure. Despite considering it a late initiative, the DA expressed its support for this model and has already proposed ways to implement it.
Concerns Over Economic Growth and Debt Stabilization
However, the DA believes that the positive news ends there. They argue that despite the government’s claims of significant progress in resolving relentless blackouts, the reality is that the lights remain off. They also express concern over the slow progress in unbundling Eskom and its continued generation of enormous losses. The DA further criticizes the tepid economic growth projections, overstated revenue projections, and forced cuts in service delivery and social spending due to a lack of bold initiatives.
Public Sector Wage Bill and Food Security Concerns
The DA also laments that despite the president’s commitment to restructure the size of the state in his 2023 state of the nation address, this is not reflected in the numbers. They point out that the public sector wage bill continues to balloon unsustainably. The party also criticizes the government for not caring about struggling South African households who are unable to afford enough food. They argue that the minister could have expanded the zero-VAT rated basket of food or reduced taxes and levies on fuel to provide immediate relief to South African households.
IFP’s Criticism of Economic Mismanagement
Meanwhile, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) expressed deep concern at the state of the nation and criticized the ruling party for its continued mismanagement of our economy. They argue that there was nothing to celebrate in the budget statement and painted a bleak picture of our country’s future with an economic outlook that offers little hope.