Petition To Reject 2021 Budget As Govt Cuts Social Support

[📌Petition📌]: “Over 18 million people who rely on the income support provided by social grants will experience a real decrease in the value of the grants.

The paltry increase to the child support grants will not even buy a loaf of bread! Millions of learners in rural and township schools will face rising class sizes due to a lack of teachers because of the reduction in financing for education.

The public health system will be weakened by cuts to primary health care services and to public hospitals, while 300 000 people will not receive access to vital antiretroviral medicines due to budget cuts to the HIV/AIDS programme.

The cuts to public services proposed in Budget 2021 break the Constitution’s promise to “improve the quality of life of all”

The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa states that the Bill of Rights is the cornerstone of democracy in our country. It requires the state to “heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights.” These rights include the right to basic education, the right to health care services, the right to social security and protection, the right to food, the right to water and sanitation, the right to housing, the right to a healthy environment, the right to fair labour practices and the right to redress and equitable access to land.

The 2021 Budget tabled by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni on behalf of the executive directly attacks these rights with severe funding cuts totalling -R265 billion over the next three years, including:

=> X R67.2 billion to be cut from spending on public health

=> X R36.0 billion to be cut from spending on social grants, resulting in a real decrease in income for millions of recipients of the child support grant, disability grant, foster care grant, war verterans grant and the state pension

=> Spending R1 000 less per learner enrolled in public schools in the 2022 academic year compared with the 2020 academic year

The list goes on.

In total, the government has proposed that “consolidated non-interest spending will contract at an annual real average rate of 5.2%.” In Rand terms, the austerity measures mean that government plans to spend R2 700 less per person on public services in 2022 compared with what it was spending in 2019.

We believe that Budget 2021 fails to uphold the government’s obligation to do everything in its power to respect, protect and fulfil our Constitutional rights. Parliament must therefore send the budget back to the Executive and require it to meet its socio-economic rights obligations and consider alternative ways of managing our public debt.”

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