Every year at this time a national budget is presented in Parliament followed by a big debate as to which amount of money must be spent where. As the reports regarding corruption and the misappropriation of funds over a spectrum of institutions that must benefit out of the budget are made known, the question that inevitably arises is in what way does the budget meet any purpose? It stands to reason that this should be one of the most important announcements of the year. After all, that is when the governing party has its say on how they plan to spend the hard earned money of the tax payers in the interest of the country’s residents. That is the assumption, but appropriation thereof is becoming more and more of a struggle and if it will in fact take place meaningfully at all. There is almost no department on all levels of government in which there is the right to pose questions about how unimpeachable the applications are. During the budget a yearly theoretical explanation is made on how the funds are appropriated. Let’s call it theoretical because in practice it shows something else every time.
Any business that drafts a budget starts at the previous year’s expenditure and uses that as the basis on which to determine which adjustments need to be made to bring about better effectiveness. One learns from mistakes made and thus implements adjustments to improve profitability. The state should implement the same principals. Unfortunately very little reporting is done during the budget speech about where the citizens’ money has gone to during the previous year.
The best figures can be rolled out, but as long as the current policy of the ANC is being propelled, the budget will deliver dividends of little value to the residents of the country. The problem originated at the beginning of the ANC’s takeover with their so-called transformation policy based on their National Democratic Revolution which includes aspects such as BEE, employment equity, affirmative action which focuses on taking the country to a socialistic and communistic system.
The price of the practice of cadre deployment where ability is not the criteria for appointment in posts but rather skin colour and ideological alliance, has become too expensive for South Africa. Presently there are very few places where so-called empowerment projects make any sense at all. The wheels come off literally and figuratively in almost all the organisations that are their responsibility. There is no end to the list. Think about Eskom, education, security services, health services, SAA, railways, information services in agriculture, renewal of drivers’ licenses and so it can be continued almost ad infinitum. The name of the game has become self-enrichment and corruption. Service delivery has become a luxury and one must express gratitude towards those people who are doing their level best under these circumstances to still make a positive difference.
The situation today is that incidents come to the fore almost daily where misappropriation was and still is obvious and then the people are protected because they have been placed high enough in the ANC’s hierarchy. South Africa is bleeding, but the ANC soldiers on with unachievable policy that has already been proven worldwide to be a failure and they are only doing this because it gives them the opportunity to enrich themselves at the expense of the residents.
Back to the budget. It is imperative for a good budget to be set up that will focus on the creation and maintenance of the much needed infrastructure. With the budget the government has the opportunity to clinch its two primary tasks. Firstly to see to the safety of the residents of the country and secondly to create a climate in which investors would reckon that it is a favourable environment in which business can be done. Their policy of insecurity, the inability that is created by the cadre deployment that does not necessarily bring ability to table, will be the cause of once again having to listen to a budget that does not create a better future for the residents, because the correct things to stimulate economic growth did not settle the matter. On the contrary, the cadres will just be empowered more and more and the investment opportunities will visit our shores less and less.
With the budget the government should focus on those aspects which will enable stability to be brought into the economic environment. As long as our economy does not grow properly, the capacity to address all other crisis can just not be created. Amongst other things, the following must be looked at;
- The residents’ safety – the necessary resources and skills must be created to address it;
- the necessary infrastructure that is needed for economic activity must be improved;
- in the past few years South Africa has experienced more and more that we are vulnerable from a climatic angle. In the light of the fact that South Africa is a marginal agricultural country, provision should be made in the budget to be able to overcome disasters in the agricultural environment so as to entrench food security;
- the standard of education must be elevated to such a level that learners have an outcome that is at least worth something;
- insecurities such as expropriation without compensation has no economic outcome – at the most a possible short term political outcome that is in no way sustainable;
- any policy statement should be tested against the impact on investment confidence as well as the willingness of entrepreneurs to do business;
- stop the policy of SOE and affirmative action and allow only ability to be the choice in appointments to ensure that the economy and the government institutions function properly;
- Allow the private sector to do their work freely in a safe and favourable environment. That is from where taxes come which will have the capacity to create that which will cause the shortfalls to be addressed;
- the National Prosecuting Authority must be properly empowered to address the state capture and corruption.
With the budget the ANC has the opportunity to help create a better future for South Africa’s residents or they can keep plodding on with their unachievable ideological and political games that do not benefit anyone, excepting for the few cadres who are in the fortunate position to look after themselves and only offer the residents of the country lip service making a pretence/show of benefits.