SADTU statement on the upcoming Medium Term Budget Statement

23 October 2018

The South African Democratic Teachers' Union (SADTU), the largest trade union in the education sector and an affiliate of COSATU, is expecting new ideas from the recently appointed Finance Minister Tito Mboweni in his medium-term budget policy statement.

The Union would like to urge the Minister to avoid relying on old discredited economic policies, which continue to reproduce poverty, inequality, and unemployment.

We further advise the Minister to avoid the simplistic and narrow view that the public service sector wage bill is bloated and the sector wage bill is putting strain on the country's coffers. It is not true that paying government servants hampers government from providing basic and essential services.

We must consider the fact that our population has grown, whereas the number of public servants has remained stagnant or declined in some sectors. In light of these facts, we therefore need more teachers, doctors, nurses, social workers and police.

If ever there is a need for a cut in the public service, this should start with halving the number of cabinet ministers and the senior bureaucracy and not the professionals who are at the coalface.

The Minister should appreciate the outcome of the recent Presidential Job Summit, with a clear accord that says, "No to Job Cuts in the Public Service."

Minister Mboweni took to the helm while the Zondo Commission was in the process of unearthing the truth to a point of uprooting corruption and daily looting of the state coffers. He has come at a time when we are following developments in the Inquiry into SARS where we are learning about the inefficiency that may have led to tax evasion by big companies and the super-rich with capital outflows and a serious decline in tax collection.

He inherits a public purse with a wasteful expenditure that is tantamount to being a norm and the decline in economic growth with a 0,7% projection for this year.

We call on the Minster to prioritise the following in his Medium Term Budget Policy statement:

* Intensification of our anti-corruption and wasteful expenditure campaigns
* Review of the current Post Provisioning Model and attend to overcrowding at our township and rural schools
* Allocate more resources to attend to the safety of public servants
* Finalization of the Government Housing Scheme as a matter of urgency as this will restore the dignity of public servants
* More resources to address sanitation in rural and township schools and to bring an end to inhumane ablution facilities which continue to cost the lives of many of our children and erode the dignity of teachers and women in particular.
* Improve conditions of service of those employed in the Adult Education and Training (AET) and Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sectors
* Expedite the process of finalizing the issue of a Wealth Tax so that the super-rich can contribute to the development of our country and end the investments strike. Equally, the minister should ensure that SARS tightens the tax collection mechanisms directed at the super rich in particular; this is the group of individuals and companies that consistently find creative ways to avoid their tax obligations through the utilization of tax havens.
* Allocate enough resources to assist the children of the poor to access quality, public and free Higher Education.
* More resources for the formalization of the Early Childhood Development Sector

Education is and will always remain the best investment.

ISSUED BY: SADTU Secretariat

CONTACT:

General Secretary, Mugwena Maluleke: 082 783 2968
Deputy General Secretary, Nkosana Dolopi: 082 709 5651
Media Officer, Nomusa Cembi: 082 719 5157