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SAFTU calls on new Finance Minister to reverse austerity

The South African Federation of Trade Unions has noted the appointment of Tito Mboweni as Minister of Finance and hopes that he will reject the economic strategies embraced by all his predecessors, based on the dictates of international bug business global financial institutions and credit ratings agencies.

These policies have led to the catastrophe for South Africa which has among six countries with the world’s highest levels of unemployment, that has left almost 10 million workers with no job. We have the appalling levels of poverty, virtually no economic growth and have become the least equal society in the world.

His first challenge will be the Medium-Term Budget policy statement on 24 October, when he will have the opportunity to reverse a succession of austerity budgets which are making an already horrendous situation for the majority of  South Africans even worse, with more unfilled vacancies in the public service leading to a steadily deteriorating quality of life for in poor communities.

SAFTU insists that more money must be budgeted to upgrade hundreds of dilapidated schools and hospitals, employ more teachers, doctors, nurses and community health-care workers, and step up the fight against drug lords and gangsters.

This must be financed by raising new finance from the rich elite, through such measures as wealth and solidarity taxes and taxing the over a trillion rands hoarded by business, and taking firm and decisive action to stop financial outflows and illicit trade.

Another urgent task will be an urgent investigation into the Public Investment Corporation, which is responsible for a fund of nearly R2 trillion on behalf of the government workers’ pension funds and is the biggest shareholder on Johannesburg’s stock exchange.

Very serious allegations are being made by whistle-blowers in the PIC of decisions being taken outside the strict rules and procedures and making  investment decisions to benefit certain people.

He must suspend those officials against whom there are such allegations, establish an independent investigation, where whistle blowers, who are currently being persecuted by the very people who are acing these allegations, will be allowed to bring evidence to back these allegations without fear of reprisals.