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The Select and Standing Committees on Finance held a joint public hearing on the Revised Fiscal Framework and Revenue Proposal, also known as the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS), in which Eskom, the public servants wage bill, as well as wealth and corporate tax came under the spotlight during presentations.

The representative of the Pietermaritzburg Pensioners Forum, Ms Noxolo Mfocwa, who is a Junior Campaigner at the Amandla.Mobi, a non-governmental organisation, briefed the committees that government should consider imposing wealth and corporate tax to augment its finances. She also said that pensioners should receive an increase on their monthly grant of R1 700 and receive a 13th cheque in December.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), represented by Mr Matthew Parks, held a view that those who are found guilty of corruption at Eskom should be arrested and have their assets freezed in order to recover the lost money. Mr Matthew further said that Eskom should be allowed to own and produce renewable energy. Eskom should also cut the prices on coal supply, as well as the tariffs on the Independent Power Producers. 

“Cosatu supports affordable tariffs for the consumers, industry and exports. We firmly believe that the public servants wage bill is increased by exorbitant packages at management levels and, accordingly, reject any attack on the right to a living wage,” said Mr Parks.

Mr Yunus Carrim who co-chaired the public hearing said that the committee is agreeable to most of the proposals submitted, but called on the stakeholders to bear in mind that there are always trade-offs when developing a national budget. 

“Although we agree and welcome the presentations, our view is that some proposals belong with the Standing Committee on Appropriation and those relevant to this committee will be responded to by the National Treasury on Friday, 8 November 2019,” said Mr Carrim.

Other stakeholders who presented included the Budget Justice Coalition, Rural Health Advocacy Project, Fiscal Cliff Study Group, Tobacco Institute of South Africa and British American Tobacco.

Justice Molafo
6 November 2019