South African civil society organisation, Action Against Austerity, on Thursday picketed in Pretoria against the government’s medium-term budget, in a relatively small, but peaceful action.
The petition called for the implementation of a basic income grant, and the continuation of the social relief packages implemented during the current coronavirus crisis, and was accepted by the treasury director.
South Africa’s medium-term budget saw a higher-than-expected revenue generation prediction, with this windfall being budgeted for debt and deficit reduction, instead of expenditure, as many sought.
Speaking to Radio Islam International, Keith Duarte of Action Against Austerity, explained the organisations intentions and mandate as being against the removal of the social relief implemented during the coronavirus crisis, which has affected over 27 million South Africans. He further argued that the organisation was in favour of a Basic Income Grant of R1500, and criticised the proposed increase in taxes. In addition, he argued that they were not looking for the state to be a nanny, but that finances could be found from tackling corruption in the public sector, and cadre deployment, which he argued is leaving government institutions and municipalities bankrupt. Last, he also criticised the roles of the World Bank and IMF, arguing that their focus on austerity could be akin to these institutions trying to nanny the government.