Black Sash Media Statements

Black Sash reponds to Medium Term Budget Policy Statement - Tuesday, 25 October 2011

For immediate release: Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan says his budget is "a response to dangerous times". We have been warning our government of the dangers of our high levels of poverty, inequality, unemployment and food insecurity for many years. And while it is true that the global economic crisis has heightened these dangers, this budget does not do enough to help us conquer them.

While we welcome Minister Gordhan’s decision to continue to spend during difficult times and support his commitment to invest in our infrastructure, particularly our public transport system, there is a danger that this money may not really reach the poor. The Black Sash would like to see more guarantees that this spend will reach vulnerable households and individuals through the creation of decent work. We reiterate our call for a social justice clause to be included in all state tenders to encourage the creation of local employment and social investment. More often than not, these tenders have only served to enrich a small group of elite people. And more often than not, the quality of the service or product provided has been sub-standard. Minister Gordhan repeatedly referred today to our high wage bill, yet both public and private leaders continue to live lives of gross excess, acting with apparent disregard for the hardships experiences by the majority of our people. They too, must demonstrate social solidarity by exercising restraint and eradicating corrupt business practices.

It is clear from Minister Gordhan’s budget speech today that we will not reach the job targets set. This places more responsibility on the state to ensure that a comprehensive social protection system is in place to meet the basic human rights enshrined in our Constitution. It is dangerous that so many people in our country continue to fall through our social security net which still fails to provide adequate support to the youth, unemployed, chronically ill, workers in vulnerable sectors and those who live in informal settlements. In this regard, we are concerned about the ongoing delays around the release of the much promised social security reforms. The Black Sash does, however, welcome Minister Gordhan’s announcement today of incentives to encourage the efficient and cost effective delivery of services in  municipalities and provinces as well as the investment in primary healthcare pilots and the Expanded Public Works Programmes or EPWP’s.

ENDS.

For interview requests, please contact:

Phelisa Nkomo

Black Sash Advocacy Programme Manager

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072-613 3577

Nkosikhulule Nyembezi

Black Sash Advocacy Programme Manager

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Cell: 082-429 4719

Elroy Paulus

Black Sash Advocacy Programme Manager

Cell: 082-748 5621

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