Vavi: Further budget cuts would be an assault on the poor

The Saftu leader says expected budget cuts next week would be more drastic than those that came earlier this year.

FILE: Saftu secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi addressing Saftu members at the Worker Library near Mary Fitzgerald Square in NewTown, Johannesburg 25 April 2018. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

CAPE TOWN – South African Federation of Trade Union (Saftu) leader Zwelinzima Vavi said on Monday he feared Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and Treasury would cut budgets even further than earlier this year.

He said a decision like this would be an assault on the poor.

The federation leader joined civil society organisations at a briefing on Monday where they called for an extension for both the R350 monthly COVID-19 grant and the caregivers grant.

Vavi said the cuts, which are expected to be announced during the medium term budget policy statement on 21 October, would be more drastic.

He said the country – and in particular the poor – would be hardest hit by any austerity measures.

“The austerity that we’ve experienced between 2008 and to date, in particular the austerity programmes that were introduced [from] March to June in response to the COVID crisis, all look like a Sunday school picnic.”

Vavi adds that what most people want from the president this week when he addresses a joint sitting of Parliament to table an economic recovery plan is more progressiveness from government.

He also said the speedy introduction of the basic income grant was imperative.

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