As social movements, communities, workers, unemployed people, activists and civil society we note that:
South Africa is facing a deepening social and economic crisis with those of us who have been systematically excluded bearing the burden of the crisis. Yet, our government shows no intention of tackling the crisis and continues to cut budgets in areas that we need to survive. Many of us have been forced into unemployment or earn poverty wages. Our communities never have enough food or water. Many more of us are homeless or forced into areas with no access to the economy. Working-class women continue to bear a disproportionate responsibility for unpaid care work. Our education system is collapsing. Very little has been done to address colonial and apartheid legacies - and we are now the most unequal society in the world. All of while an unequal health system facilitates the Covid-19 pandemic to ravage through our communities, killing many of us and further devastating our livelihoods.
Despite this, the government insists that budget-cuts will save the economy and acts as if it has no control over the resources available to it. We now know that the only way for us to survive is to organise ourselves and force the government to move beyond this flawed logic.
We will no longer stand back and witness an unresponsive government that puts profit before people, prioritises austerity over basic human rights and takes us deeper into a crisis! There must be a people-centred and human-rights approach to the budget - that considers the limits of the planet.
Therefore, through popular education, mobilisation, campaigning and direct action we will ensure:
Since 2012 the government has been strengthening its austerity project by cutting budgets in areas that are essential for our survival. The government must address inequality by boosting spending on education, housing, health care, transport, electricity and social security. We will ensure that the government ends budget cuts!
The government cannot continue to plan the budget behind closed doors and in the interests of business and political elites. We will not be insulted by rubber-stamping exercises framed as “consultation”. The budget belongs to all of us! We will ensure that the budget process is opened up to public deliberation and participation. We will demand People’s Budget Indabas!
We can no longer be doomed into a poverty cycle! We will no longer be disposable to the whims of economic models that don’t serve us. Right now, full employment is unachievable. We need an urgent solution to secure our right to live in dignity, boost the economy and create demand for products and services, and more jobs. We will ensure that the government implements a Basic Income for all!
Spending must prioritise equal access to housing, food, water, health, education, social security and other constitutionally guaranteed basic services. We will ensure the government implements Universal Public Services for all!
It is a myth to say that these investments are unaffordable. Our government can and must make resources available by redistributing them fairly. We need to: Tax the rich! Implement a wealth tax! End tax dodging and profit shifting! Stop wasting money on soldiers, guns and spies! End corruption! Save our State-Owned Enterprises!
Towards a People’s Budget:
While Finance Minister Tito Mboweni announces his plans to strengthen his government’s austerity programme and take us deeper into a crisis, we will work towards an alternative budget. A budget formed by unemployed people, working poor, by people living in informal settlements and rural areas, by women and by the working-class at large.
We will demand a People’s Budget!