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ANC Parliamentary Caucus response to the 2017 MTBPS

25 October 2017

The ANC Parliamentary Caucus welcomes the 2017 Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) as presented by Minister of Finance, comrade Malusi Gigaba in the National Assembly today.

The MTBPS calls for the engineering of a new growth and transformation model one that is anchored on a common vision for the economy and its society; that embraces sharing of economic resources and producing a South Africa that truly should economically belong to all of us that live in it. It addresses structural change of patterns of ownership, control, management and production. The financing of the policy choices reflected in the MTBPS is therefore underpinned by the ANC government's commitment to social and economic transformation.

We note that 95% of the wealth of our country is in the hands of 10% of the population. This is completely unacceptable and reinforces the need for radical economic transformation that benefits all our people, but primarily the poor and disadvantaged. The promotion of the Black Industrialists programme is an important part of this. The decision to introduce the Public Procurement Bill next year to provide for set asides for disadvantaged strata of our society, including the youth, will also contribute to radical economic transformation.

We welcome the Minister's commitment to retain social spending. The R948 billion allocation to infrastructure and the increase in expenditure from R77 billion to R97 billion for higher education over the next three years shows the ANC government's commitment to improving access to higher education for the poor.

We welcome the CEOs Initiative to introduce a Youth Employment Service (YES) to bring close to a million young South Africans into internships over the next three years and the setting up of a R1.5 billion Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) Fund which will soon be operational.

We further support the Competition Commission's market inquiry into data prices and government's decision to introduce a Bill to actively tackle the monopolization of the economy.

The low economic growth means that there will be a R50.8 billion shortfall in tax revenue, and we note that borrowing will shoot up, with nearly 15% of the budget being spent on servicing debt by 2020/21. This means that more than ever we have to focus on the quality and efficiency of spending, and more decisively and quickly root out wastage and corruption.

We appreciate the Minister's commitment to ensuring far more effective government oversight of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs), appointing effective Board members, ensuring that Boards appoint competent managers, tackling wastage and corruption, and, very crucially, acting against those who do not perform. On South African Airways (SAA) in particular, we believe a strategic equity partner can play an important role in SAA's turnaround, as well as unlocking value for the fiscus which has invested significantly in the airline over the years.

As Minister Gigaba said in his speech "procrastination and dithering must end, we must demonstrate decisive leadership." And we support too his statement that "government must improve its productivity and decisiveness."

The ANC Caucus in Parliament will closely monitor and offer the necessary support to ensure the effective implementation of the budget in order to advance radical economic transformation.

Issued by the Office of the ANC Chief Whip

Nonceba Mhlauli
ANC Caucus Spokesperson

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