Johannesburg – Where are these people living? On Mars?
This was Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s reaction on
Thursday to criticism of the amount government spends on social grants.
At a post-mortem on his budget address he hit out at
commentators who, in reference to social allowances and higher taxes that
affect the super rich in particular, had labelled the budget as vindictive and
a “deadly cocktail”.
How is it vindictive, he asked, adding that perhaps the
commentator, as all government officials allege, had been misquoted.
He said the division in society had been created by South
Africans and everyone had a role in eliminating the inequalities.
The less South Africans were
prepared to sacrifice anything, the greater the inequality would become,
The inequalities were regarding economic growth and the
bigger they became, the more serious was their impact on economic growth.
Nevertheless, he said, we all shared expectations for economic growth.
The minister said the message in his budget speech had been
that South Africa needed to create solidarity to reach common objectives. Every
individual needed to ask himself what he was prepared to sacrifice to that end.
This also applied to the controversial toll tariffs. The
minister’s message was explicit: the user-pay principle is cast in stone.
He added that the R5.75bn that Treasury had set aside for
the Gauteng toll roads would not come from new tax levies. It would come from
taxes that the South African Revenue Service had already collected.
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