NEVA MAKGETLA: The budget of capitulation
Tito Mboweni has risked promoting social conflict, dragging down economic growth and ultimately threatening democracy itself
The budget in effect upends 25 years of using government spending as a core tool for redistribution. It cuts basic services for the poor, most obviously by shrinking education, housing and social grants, while lowering income taxes for the rich. And it isn’t even good at promoting economic recovery. True, it prioritises vaccines and increased public investment, but cutting spending in real terms is unambiguously procyclical.
A true reconstruction budget would promote programmes that address SA’s profound inequality, which continues to stymie growth and stoke vicious social divisions, corruption and crime. The main drivers of inequality are persistently poor education in working-class communities; disparities in asset ownership, especially small businesses; deeply inequitable work organisation; and the legacy of apartheid spatial restrictions that leaves most poor households far from economic opportunities. These ills all contribute to extraordinarily high joblessness as well ...