Various groups, including Equal Education, the Black Sash, the Democratic Alliance and trade union Samwu, staged a demonstration outside Parliament in Cape Town during Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni’s Medium-Term Budget Speech.
Equal Education is demanding that there be no more cuts in the basic education budget.
Spokesperson, Cwayita Wenana, says, “Over 1000 infrastructure projects will either be delayed or completely stopped as a result of these budget cuts. But we also know that in the midst of COVID a-lot of the issues that came up is food sovereignty. Nine million learners depend on a school meal a day. That should be a priority. There should be additional funding, not just to infrastructure, but also to the national school nutrition programme.”
The Black Sash has called on the government to increase all the COVID-19 grants and make them permanent.
Spokesperson Hoodah Abrahams, says, “They have only extended the caregivers’ grant for three months. We are still in the State of Disaster and they are stopping the caregivers grant of R500 and the top ups for the top ups grants. Also, the (Sassa) grant is only R350. How can people live when the food poverty line is R585? So, it’s important when you look at the budget to look at it through a human rights lens, so that you can understand what people are going through to put food on the table and to survive when there are no employment opportunities at the moment.”
The Democratic Alliance had earlier voiced its objection to another bailout to South Africa Airways.
Shadow Minister of Finance Geordin Hill Lewis, says, “We think it’s morally indefensible to do that when so many millions of South Africans are suffering right now. They’ve lost their jobs and their income. There are so many other urgent things we should be spending that money on. Not on bailing out a bankrupt state-owned company. That’s not going to work.”
Trade union Samwu was joined by other unemployed people’s groups in calling for jobs and an end to retrenchments.
Spokesperson Bridgette Nkomana, says. “The budget needs to speak to the needs of the poor, the excluded and jobs created for the people.”
Protesters have vowed to return to parliament if their demands are not met.