Tell our new Minister of Finance to let the majority live in dignity

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This Thursday, our new Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana will give his first "mini-budget" speech, also known as the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS). If we don't act, this could be another speech that announces steps to help the rich and fails the marginalised majority. 

Over the years, Treasury has made public participation in budgets harder and harder. Last week we learnt that Minister Godongwana and Treasury were secretly trying to push through a plan to scrap the R350 grant and derail Basic Income Support [1], even though the President and Department of Social Development have shown support for extending the R350 and basic income [2]. That's why it is so important we send public comments to Treasury and demand a budget that ensures the majority live with dignity, and for Treasury to make public participation accessible.

Food prices continue to rise [3], which has made many basic needs even more unaffordable. Social grants were not enough before the pandemic, and now things are much worse. Together, the amandla .mobi community with community groups and partner organisations have been campaigning for years to increase social grants by taxing the rich. Our leaders didn't agree to all our campaign demands, and the grant amounts were not enough and should have been permanent, but there were steps in the right direction with social grant top-ups in 2020, and the extension and then reintroduction of the R350 grant. Let's make sure our new Minister of Finance knows what we have been demanding and the power of our community.

Our leaders have the power to increase social grants, introduce basic income support and reverse cuts to social spending. For years the Minister of Finance and Treasury have been presented with clear plans to achieve this. It's time they listen, and increased tax on multimillionaires, introduce a wealth tax [4], and increase taxes on sugary drinks, tobacco, alcohol and carbon.

[1] Civil society coalition rejects National Treasury scheme to terminate income support for adults. 

[2] Godongwana and the presidency battle over grants. Thuletho Zwane for City Press. 31 October 2021

[3] Household shopping basket price tag rises 10% in a year, Given Majola, IOL, 26 August 2021.

[4] A wealth tax for South Africa, Aroop Chatterjee, Leo Czajka and Amory Gethin for Wits University, January 2021.

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