Opposition parties have slammed Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s maiden budget speech as ‘uninspiring, lacking in detail’ and ‘unable to disentangle South Africa from economic stagnation.
Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane said Mboweni’s budget speech shows that the ANC government has no coherent plans to grow the South African economy and create much-needed jobs.
“This is a lipstick budget speech. It looks good from the outside, but has no content at all and it is unsustainable. If we don’t change government [after the May 8 elections] we will still be delivering the same budget as we did today,” said Maimane.
“SA is in a difficult space at the moment and the minister minced his words about state-owned enterprises. We must sell SOEs once. Clearly, the ANC has no plans to grow the economy.”
Leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Julius Malema, dismissed Mboweni’s budget speech as ‘flat’ and uninspiring.
“He has no clear plan on how to create jobs,” said Malema.
“He didn’t reduce the Value Added Tax (VAT). He didn’t implement the Sovereign Wealth Fund. He spoke about disposing off of state-owned enterprises, but we will never agree to that. We need SOEs. They are there to ensure our people benefit from these companies and are employed.”
Steve Swart from the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) slammed Mboweni for allocating R69 billion bailout to struggling Eskom.
“This is regrettable, to say the least. We are deeply concerned if he cannot speak to fiscal stability,” said Swart.
Congress of the People (COPE) leader Mosiuoa Lekota said his organisation was disappointed in Mboweni’s budget speech for failing to reduce the size of the Executive.
Lekota also slammed the finance minister for giving billions of rands of taxpayers’ money to failing state-owned companies such as Eskom, South African Airways, Denel and the SABC.
“We are disappointed he has once again given money to the SOEs at the expense of our population and this is unacceptable,” said Lekota.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions has also slammed the budget speech for lacking a coherent plan to grow the economy and create jobs, following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Jobs Summit last year.
On the other hand, ANC’s treasurer Paul Mashatile said the governing party welcomed the budget speech, saying he did well by increasing government spending and supporting SOEs.
“Our view is that we need to support SOEs, but we do agree that non-core State assets must be disposed of. However, we need to keep core state assets in order to create jobs and grow the economy,” said Mashatile.