21/02/2018 17:16 SAST | Updated 22/02/2018 09:07 SAST

Opposition Slams Budget Tax Increases

Parties have heavily criticised Gigaba for increasing VAT by one percentage point. "No government can tax itself to prosperity," said Mmusi Maimane.

Finance minister Malusi Gigaba delivers his Budget address in Parliament. February 21, 2018.
Mike Hutchings / Reuters
Finance minister Malusi Gigaba delivers his Budget address in Parliament. February 21, 2018.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said Wednesday's Budget speech reflected the consequences of the ANC looting.

"What this budget indicated is that in the last number of years, while the ANC has been stealing and looting money, the poor people are going to pay for it," he said.

Maimane, along with other opposition parties, was reacting outside Parliament to the Budget.

If he were in Gigaba's shoes, the opposition party leader said, he would cut cabinet to 15 ministries and sell some of the country's embattled state-owned entities.

"We don't need SAA; we don't need to be paying these bailouts. Take that money and put it towards the reduction of tax and [towards] manufacturing, so that we can create more work and stimulate more small businesses, so that more people can get work... not keeping the lifestyle of ministers up, in the way that the ANC intends on doing."

"His budget is a total assault on the workers."– Zwelinzima Vavi

Gigaba announced that VAT would increase by 1 percentage point to 15 percent, a decision that has made him unpopular with many.

"His budget is a total assault on the workers...," South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) head Zwelinzima Vavi said. "It has now slapped the poor to pay for all the mistakes which were committed by the government – we are absolutely very angry."

"VAT is a very regressive tax system, which punishes and hurts the poor more than anyone else," he added.

"Poor people are going to suffer," Congress of the People (Cope) head Mosiuoa Lekota said regarding the VAT increase.

He also criticised newly elected president Cyril Ramaphosa's "reluctance to deal with bureaucracy that is consuming money".

"I want to make one paramount statement – that this is not giving us hope as to how we are going to come out of the debt that we find ourselves in today. The president; I do not know what he is waiting for; we will be seeing that money is being saved," he said.