Rights group gives 2013 budget a 'fail'

2013-02-27 20:09 - Sapa
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Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. (Picture: AFP) ~ AFP

Johannesburg - Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's 2013 Budget has failed to address the needs of South Africans, a civil rights organisation said on Wednesday.

"The crux of the problem with the budget is... it is predicated on the idea that there should first be growth before there can be redistribution," the Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC) said in a statement.

"This budget fails. It doesn't prioritise expenditure to the urgent needs of the vast majority of the people."

AIDC said the budget "takes one step forward, only to take two steps backwards".

This was evident in the deaths of 34 mineworkers in Marikana, North West last year, in the farmworkers' strikes in the Western Cape, and the growing number of service delivery protests around the country.

"The urgency of the situation required an extraordinary response, not a 'business as usual' response. He [Gordhan] calls for a tax review. Very good. He then stays on the same trajectory as always and gives over R7 billion in tax relief to the wealthier sections of society."

AIDC said the government had decided to channel limited resources into tax breaks for businesses through a youth wage subsidy.

"[This is] despite overwhelming evidence that such policies have failed to create jobs in other countries and are particularly unsuited to local conditions."

Gordhan said tax incentives to employ young people, and for people employed in the special economic zones (SEZ), were on the cards. He said a revised youth employment incentive would be tabled in the National Assembly, together with a proposed employment incentive for SEZs.

AIDC describes itself on its website as an organisation that "aims to strengthen the movement for social justice through the production of alternative knowledge".

It also wants to enhance capacity in community media organisations, and progressive civil society organisations by "giving [a] voice to the poor and marginalised, locally and internationally".

* Visit our 2013 Budget section for full coverage of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's National Budget speech.

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