The secret “Austerity Plan” presented to President Ramaphosa last week by National Treasury has allegedly revealed that the State is fast running out of money, and in turn proposes a slew of service delivery cuts and tax increases that will directly affect struggling South Africans.
We are therefore requesting Treasury to release the plan for public consumption and open it up for public comment. Failing which, BOSA will submit an application to gain access to the plan – in terms of the mechanism provided in the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) - in the interests of transparency and fairness.
Amid the cost-of-living crisis, runaway inflation, and a stagnant economy that is failing to create jobs or wealth for the middle and working classes, citizens have a right to a greater say in government decisions on spending, taxation and economic management. Government is creating conditions of instability by clouding reports in secrecy.
If indeed the fiscus is running out of money, then it is no one else but this government – through mismanagement and corruption – that has brought about that situation.
Government does not have the luxury of making these far-reaching decisions in secret meetings behind closed doors. The people of South Africa have every right to have sight of these plans, and to make submissions on said plans.
We live in a constitutional democracy whereby citizens are entitled to information that directly affects their lives and are empowered to have their views and voices heard.
It is abominable that politicians who are insulated from the harsh effects of these decisions. Their salaries remain sky high, their perks that include taxpayer-funded VIP protection and transportation via chauffeur services are untouched, and they continue each day being completely shielding from the of daily rolling blackouts while their official and private residences are equipped with generators and other energy supplies.
The time has come for South Africans to use their numbers and stand up in solidarity to the constant onslaught by government on their lives and livelihoods.