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Mixed reaction to 2013 budget

SA weighs in on Pravin Gordhan’s budget speech.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan delivering his 2013 Budget Speech in Parliament on 27 February 2013. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Opposition parties have welcomed Minister Pravin Gordhan's announcement that personal income tax won't be increasing, but have voiced concern about the country's budget deficit.

Overall political parties have largely welcomed the 2013 budget which Gordhan delivered in parliament on Wednesday.

The Democratic Alliance's Tim Harris said it was wise not to increase personal income tax..

"I'm pleased there wasn't a tax increase beyond an increase in the fuel levy."

Harris also said the levy increase would hurt consumers, and any further tax increase would have hammered economic growth even further.

Freedom Front leader Pieter Mulder said he was concerned about the budget deficit.

"The deficit goes up to five plus percent and the debt is up to 40%, so the airplane is in a dive."

The African Christian Democratic Party's Steve Swart has welcomed the announcement on youth employment incentives.

"He succeeded in aligning the national budget with the National Development Plan (NDP) to stimulate economic growth and to address job creation."

Swart also said the party supports this and that the speech was well presented.

Another party, the United Democratic Movement said the Minister had little room to manoeuvre, but delivered a responsible budget.

'MONEY TO STATE ORGANS NEED TO BE SUPERVISED '

Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said the budget showed government's commitment to creating jobs through infrastructure development.

Gigaba said this pleased him quite a lot.

"The Minister had to prepare this in a context where our economy has slowed down and the global economic recession is continuing to bite."

Gigaba also said all economies were facing constraints in the levels of growth, regardless of whether they were actual or imagined economies.

Meanwhile, the Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe welcomed the allocations given to his department.

R1.2 billion has been set aside for the criminal justice sector revamp and modernisation programme.

"So I'm satisfied that with the resources that we have, we'll be able to utilise them optimally in order to ensure that the Justice, Crime and Security cluster does its job."

The Public Protector's office will also receive funding to increase its investigative capacity.

But, Thuli Madonsela said supervision of how money is spent by organs of state was important.

"He's also looking at the revenue that he's given to organs of state… Where does it go to?"

Madonsela said this was a great task the Minister had given to himself.

'DISAPPOINTING BUDGET '

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) said it was largely disappointed with the budget, because it was hoping for something bolder.

Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven was not convinced that this budget puts job creation right at the top of government's agenda.

"Overall we'd have to say that we're disappointed, we feel that this is not a budget for a fundamental transformation of our economy, which is what the ANC 's Mangaung Conference came out in favour of."

Meanwhile, trade union federation Fedusa has welcomed certain aspects of the budget.

The union's Dennis George said, "The announcement by the Minister to want to table legislation in parliament to get a training-based youth incentive scheme going… is welcomed."

BUSINESS REMAINS UPBEAT

Business Unity South Africa (Busa) said the sector is likely to respond positively to Minister Pravin Gordhan's budget.

Busa said the NDP was the tool that was needed to achieve a stronger economy.

Meanwhile, the South African Chamber of Commerce And Industry's Neren Rau has welcomed the announcement that income tax will not increase.

"We were relieved that there were no hikes in taxes or greater burdens on taxpayers at this point in time."

He also said he hoped that there would be a reduction in red tape, so that it was easier for small businesses to function.

"We hope that this year a greater attention to both tax administration easing as well as reducing red tape will assist in making the lives of small and medium enterprises better in South Africa."

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