POLITICS

Initial response to the 2022 Budget Speech – SACP

SACP |

23 February 2022

Party welcomes extension of SRD Grant, remains strongly opposed to austerity

South African Communist Party

Initial response to the 2022 Budget Speech

Wednesday, 23 February 2022

The South African Communist Party (SACP) will study the full Budget Review and produce a comprehensive response, as the budget speech does not cover all the issues and items covered in the full Budget Review. In the intervening period, the SACP wishes to highlight the following.

As things stand, South Africa is far away from overcoming the entrenched systemic crises of unemployment, poverty, inequality and social reproduction. These capitalist system crises will remain entrenched and unresolved. Taking unemployment as the case in point, the situation could worsen—that is, unemployment could increase to new highs in the period ahead. There is, however, an interrelationship between unemployment, poverty, inequality and the crisis of social reproduction.

This means that millions of the working-class and poor will remain trapped in the capitalist economic crisis and its effects. These observations are based on at least one influential variable or factor that the Minister of Finance Enoch Godongwana conceded to when he said the projected real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is 2.1 per cent this year while it will average 1.8 per cent over the next three years.

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We need a radically different approach to start addressing the crisis in earnest. Rather than neo-liberal structural reforms, we need to advance and deepen structural transformation of the economy.

Retain and incrementally adjust the Social Relief of Distress Grant to lay a foundation for building a universal basic income grant

Firstly, the SACP welcomes the allocation of funds to support the extension of the R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) Grant introduced at the height of the global COVID-19 pandemic. However, we reiterate our call to the government to not end the SRD Grant but to instead retain it and incrementally adjust it going forward to lay a firm foundation for building a universal basic income grant for unemployed South Africans.

It is important for the government to demonstrably show that it is worried about South Africa being in the midst of a long-term unemployment crisis. Within our democratic dispensation, the unemployment crisis worsened in 1996 after the government imposed its neo-liberal economic policy called Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR).