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By Editorial staff


Budget speech follows on Ramaphosa’s Sona and put SA on road to recovery

Godongwana’s budget speech showed that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State Of the Nation Address is being put into action.

One thing to which we have become depressingly accustomed in South Africa is that our politicians and government seldom follow through on their promises.

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana seemingly knocked that on the head in his budget on Wednesday.

Apart from the expected hikes in “sin taxes” on booze and smokes – which, are frankly, morally justifiable because both can cause self-inflicted injuries – this budget went surprisingly easily for ordinary people.

But, more than that, Godongwana’s outline of spending and incentives for business to get back on its feet after the Covid battering showed that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State Of the Nation Address is being put into action.

Ramaphosa peeved many on the left when he said government cannot create jobs, but that its task is to create conditions which will, in turn, create jobs. In other words, make it easier for the private sector – and dreaded capitalism – to make a profit.

ALSO READ: No longer calling duties ‘sin tax’ is only joy liquor industry takes from budget

Company tax is being reduced and a business “bounce back” programme, which includes backing small business loans, totalling R20 billion, is on the cards.

Another boost for discretionary spending will come through the decision not to increase fuel levies and to adjust tax brackets to bring relief to individual taxpayers. Teachers should also be cheered by the news that R24 billion will be allocated to improve their salaries.

However, the books still do not balance and we will have to secure borrowing, once again, to finance the deficit, which is, in effect, kicking the “account due” can a few more years down the road… although there is a pledge to reduce that massive national debt.

Also kicked down the road was a decision on e-tolls, which, according to Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, was to have been part of the minister’s speech.

All in all, a better-than-expected budget which, hopefully, will start us on the road to recovery.