For too many years our government’s national budget has reflected a commitment to conservative economic policies that gives tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations in the hope that they will create jobs and meet the needs of our people.
While government has increased spending on social grants to reduce extreme poverty, on the whole economic policies have failed to create a conducive environment for democracy and have instead produced growing inequality and poverty. According to a recent StatsSA report, at least one in five South Africans live below the poverty line and cannot afford food, let alone sufficient access to telecommunications or the commercial media.
When government has invested in our economy it has benefited a small local and international economic elite through infrastructure or large projects intend to create ‘economic growth’ by promoting the mining and exporting of our national resources.
The Right2Know Campaign Western Cape believes it is time to invest in our democracy. We must return to the vision of a people centred, people driven development.
Government’s economic policy and its budget should support the realization of the values and rights contained in our Constitution. Rather than an austerity budget that drives economic stagnation the Government should invest in social infrastructure and service delivery.
In particular the Right2Know Western Cape calls on the Minister of Finance and the government to deliver a budget that advances the right to know:
- Provide fully subsided Set Top Boxes for all. Government must ensure that the migration to digital television does not exclude those most marginal in society or entrench the dominance of Naspers/Multichoice.
- Increase public funding for the public broadcaster. The SABC needs public funding to meet its mandate of producing quality public interest programming and limit its current dependence on commercial advertising.
- Significantly increase funding to community and non-profit radio, TV and print projects to serve the information and expression needs of marginalised communities
- Allocate a substantive budget to the soon-to-be-established Information Regulator
- Public funds must be allocated to subside access to telecoms – free basic airtime and data – as part of the social wage.
- No public funds must be made available to fund any new energy builds until proper public consultation and tender processes have been followed.
- Government must put an end to profiteering and tax evasion to increase the tax base.
- There should be a substantial budget to support the work of the Public Protector.
On National Budget Day – tomorrow, the 25th February 2015 – the Right2Know Campaign Western Cape will be joining the United Front led march to Parliament to demand a just budget that puts people before profit.
For further comment contact:
Vainola Makan (R2K WC Organiser): (021) 447 1000
Khaya Xintolo (R2K WC Coordinator): 078 024 1683
Nomacebo Mbayo (R2K WC Coordinator): 078 049 3438
Ghalib Galant (R2K WC Coordinator): 084 959 1912