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Budget Speech: Good news for households

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan will hand back R9 billion to hard-pressed consumers.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

CAPE TOWN - Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has found just over R9 billion to hand back to hard-pressed consumers by way of tax relief.

Gordhan made the announcement in his Budget Speech in Parliament.

He has also announced increases to social grants to offset the impact of inflation.

The downside is that fuel levies go up in April while smokers and drinkers will be paying more for their sins.

A general increase in taxes in an election year would have been unpopular.

But despite being in a tight corner Gordhan has managed to deliver some good news in his Budget.

"The Budget provides R9.3 billion in income tax relief to households."

Taxpayers earning under R350,000 a year will benefit the most.

Gordhan has also hiked social grants by between R20 and R80 a month.

He says the increase of 20 cents a litre in fuel levies is in line with inflation.

Gordhan has raised taxes on alcohol and tobacco; those prices will go up immediately.

Meanwhile, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) says the employment tax incentive will not solve the country's unemployment crisis.

The union held a protest outside Parliament this afternoon shortly before Gordhan delivered his budget speech.

Red-shirted Numsa members gathered outside the gates of Parliament this afternoon.

As the sun beat down, they listened as a union official read out a memorandum of demands to government.

They want the state to create more jobs, provide communities with proper housing and quality education.

Numsa's regional secretary Luvuyo Lufele says the employment tax incentive is not the solution to the country's job creation needs.

"That does not create jobs. It's just a fundraising for the employers to have more profit in their pockets."

Numsa has also lent its support to civil society organisations and their alternative 'people's budget' which calls for the equitable distribution of the country's wealth.

Click here to follow the Budget Speech.