PBC: Budget must focus on improving the composition of expenditure

The coalition, comprised of various civil society organisations, has called the report ‘an alternative human rights budget’.

FILE: Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - The Budget Justice Coalition (BJC) has released a report detailing how the current economic trajectory that centres austerity in its budgeting is undermining human rights.

The coalition, comprised of various civil society organisations, has called the report "an alternative human rights budget".

It shows, among others, there is failure by government to systematically assess the impact of the budget process on the enjoyment of the rights enshrined in the Constitution.

The BJC's report was released earlier on Wednesday during a webinar that forms part of the actions civil society will embark on to raise the plight of poor and marginalised South Africans ahead of next week's Medium-Term Budget Statement.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is later this month expected to announce more austerity measures which will affect social services.

The organisations said the budget must instead focus on improving the composition of expenditure so that there are sufficient funds allocated to socio-economic priorities such as health care, basic education, housing and gender-based violence among others.

It argues that the current model reinforces extreme wealth and widening inequality even further as the economic growth recorded comes without increasing the wealth or employment of the majority of South Africans.

Economist at the Institute for Economic Justices Busi Sibeko said the coalition was opposed to zero-based budgeting.

“We also need to challenge the idea that social expenditure does not have higher fiscal multipliers. In our human rights budget, we do not see a distinction between social and economic expenditure. In fact, social expenditure is economic expenditure.”

The coalition demands that more resources must be mobilised from high net wealth and income individuals and business while calling on the South African Revenue Service to be capacitated to combat tax evasion and avoidance.

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