The Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM) notes the tabling of the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) and Adjusted Estimates of National Expenditure (AENE) by the Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana on 1 November 2023.
The MTBPS is tabled in a context of both accountability and socio-economic crises. Minister Godongwana focused largely on the latter and indicated at the outset that the MTBPS “sets out our strategy for avoiding a fiscal crisis and preventing the build-up of systemic risks to the economy. The Minister’s indication that the resulting decisions include “spending reductions and reprioritisation, while also taking concrete steps to support growth” is disappointing and concerning given current socio-economic conditions.
We join partners in the Budget Justice Coalition and others who stand in opposition to continued cuts to social service budgets. Budget cuts to social services are disproportionately felt and carried by vulnerable households, women and children. Proposals for alternatives to such reductions have been proposed over the last few years but Cabinet and National Treasury has largely preferred not to entertain them. This trend calls into question the Cabinet and National Treasury’s commitment to public participation in budget decisions. We would welcome substantive responses and justifications from Cabinet for policy choices and especially budget adjustments that detract from social services and constitutional obligations to progressively realise a range of human rights…
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