Speech by NE.Gcwabaza on the debate on the 2016 Division of Revenue Amendment Bill

15 November 2016

Honourable Speaker
Hon.President and Hon.Dep President
Hon.Ministers and Dep.Ministers
Honorable Members

The ANC supports the 2016 Division of Revenue Amendment Bill. The Bill prioritizes spending on education, health, infrastructure, inclusive growth and social security.

We support the Bill because it reaffirms the ANC government's commitment to continue to protect and advance the socio-economic needs of the working class, the poor and the vulnerable sectors of society such as the elderly and the children. The Bill reaffirms the government's Fee Free basic education, affords school nutrition to more than Nine million learners and expands Early Childhood development so that all children benefit from an early start to education, as the Freedom Charter asserts that "Education shall be free, compulsory, universal and equal for all children."

We support the addition of R9 billion for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme to the R16 billion already allocate in the Minister of Finance's Budget Speech in February of this year. Also we support the allocation in the DORAB of Over R8 billion to meet the costs of the capped 8% university fees increase for students from households earning up to R600 000 per year. The DORAB recognizes an urgent need to fund Free TVET and Community Education and Training Colleges in order to increase rapidly vocational and technical skills which are in high demand in the economy. Again the Freedom Charter says ,"Higher Education and technical training shall be opened to all by means of state allowances and scholarships awarded on the basis of merit." The 53rd Conference Resolution of the ANC, referring to the implementation of free higher education for the poor, says that academically capable students from working class and lower middle class families should be subsidized.

Notwithstanding the subdued economic growth and a reduction in government revenue, the ANC remains committed to the implementation of the Medium Term Strategic Framework which is a vehicle for the attainment of the National Development goals.

Among the priorities identified in the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement, the Division of Revenue Amendment bill reflects sustained public spending in infrastructure projects amounting to R987.4 billion over three years in transport, energy, human settlement, water and sanitation aimed at stimulating inclusive economic growth. The allocation of R45 billion promotes industrialization, trade and economic transformation.

The ANC also welcomes the government's resolve to address legislative and regulatory framework to encourage investment in mining, beneficiation and value-addition, in agriculture and agro-processing and in key technologies such as broadband and telecommunication. The envisaged legislative and regulatory reforms should also remove barriers to economic participation and open competition in support of a growing and sustainable Small, medium and micro enterprises, cooperatives and township sector, so that big monopoly companies do not continue to be the only players in South Africa's economic sun.

In a drive to increase revenue to fund government priorities, legislative reforms must also address the problems associated with illicit flows through price shifting and tax evasion. Such funds at the disposal of tax authorities would great increase government capacity to finance inclusive economic growth and inclusive transformation, the creation of decent work and the eradication of inequalities.

The ANC recommends that the Division of Revenue Amendment Bill be passed.

Thank you Honourable Speaker