BUDGET SPEECH 2012 by Minister of Finance Mr Pravin Gordhan.
Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan will be in the spotlight as he delivers the government’s 2012 Budget Speech in Parliament on Wednesday 22 February.
There is obviously much interest in this year’s Budget Speech, especially after the promises of infrastructure development, job creation and service delivery made by President Jacob Zuma in his State of the Nation Address a few weeks ago.
Financial experts all agree that this Budget Speech will undoubtedly be one of the most challenging in years, with the Minister trying to balance the competing issues of fiscal constraints and high socio-political expectations, while maintaining fiscal discipline in a climate of global economic decline.
Many of us are anxiously waiting to see how the Minister is going to pull of this fine balancing act. Where is he going to get the R300 billion needed to fund the infrastructure building programme over the next seven years.
I’m sure all of us are secretly hoping that he won’t increase our taxes to raise these funds.
And this brings me to the point of this article. And let me declare upfront that I am no financial expert.
As a citizen of our country I firmly believe that South Africa has the financial capacity to achieve much more than we are currently doing without raising taxes and acquiring expensive loans to fund the required programmes necessary to put our country firmly on the path to fulfilling the Promise of Freedom, a Better Life for All.
All the problems afflicting our country today are not because of a lack of finances. Our government, the stewards of our democracy, have at their disposal enough finances to drastically improve the situation within which our country finds ourselves.
Government, as stewards of our democracy, and therefore stewards of the wellbeing of our nation, should be seen to be fulfilling the role that they have been voted into. Being voted into a position of trust, such as government, is a very high, noble and responsible honour. It is a position that should be accepted with humility and the commitment to live up to the expectation of the citizens who put the stewards in such a high position of trust.
However, we can only despair at the avalanche of mismanagement, corruption, and sheer looting of state coffers (our money) that happens in our country, with impunity. Not to speak about the very poor levels of service delivery in many areas of our country. To such an extent that it has become the norm, especially to the poorest people in our country.
All this in spite of governments frequent attempts to make us believe that they are fighting corruption and mismanagement, especially in the public sector.
Many of our “leaders” in the liberation movement frequently refer to the National Democratic Revolution.
And they romanticize the Revolution with idealistic slogans of socialism and communism. Ideologies of foreign failed states.
We don’t need socialism and communism to deliver on the Promise of Freedom in our country.
All we need is to apply the Ubuntu Principles and Batho Pele. These are concepts that have been practiced in our country and our communities for ages. And this practice should start right at the top, with the elected representatives of our people, the stewards of our democracy, our government.
What South Africa needs most is a caring government. A Government that really puts the needs and the interests of its citizens first. Government Ministers and public servants that won’t succumb to the luxuries allowed by the ministerial handbook, but Government Ministers and public servants who will be guided by the conscience of being committed to the Promise of Freedom, A Better Life for All.
I therefore insist Minister Pravin Gordhan, that as you deliver your Budget Speech 2012 on Wednesday 22 February, you do not have to raise our taxes or borrow expensive money to implement the programmes that will deliver on the Promise of Freedom, A Better Life For All.
The necessary finances are right here in our country. We just need to manage our available finances effectively, with the utmost respect and care for the people who have entrusted you with the government of our country.
All we need in our beloved country is a government and public sector that is committed to our own Ubuntu Principles and Batho Pele, People First.