Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader, Julius Malema, has welcomed the tabling of the 2017 budget, calling it a “well-thought of and balanced budget”, but expressed concerns over corporate taxes.
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan tabled the R1.56-trillion budget in the National Assembly on Wednesday to a rousing round of applause.
Gordhan also announced the creation of a new top personal income tax bracket where South Africa’s super rich, those that have taxable incomes of R1.5-million, or R125 000 a month and above, would pay a tax rate of 45 percent.
Reacting to the budget, Malema said though the EFF did not agree with everything Gordhan presented, the minister deserved to be applauded.
“We think it was a well-thought of budget, it was a balanced budget. He tried to increase lot of spending on poor people within constraints that we are confronted with as a country with a low [economic] growth,” Malema said.
“Our worry is that corporate tax continues to decline. Individuals are the ones that are the biggest contributors to the fiscus of South Africa wherein corporate tax declined by three percent this year.”
Malema said that a radical policy must be introduced to maximum tax collection from corporate while the introduction of state-owned companies in the strategic sectors of the economy would also increase money to the State.
“The licencing of Postbank is good intervention. And if it can be strengthened and capacitated, it must provide services to our people at reasonable interest,” Malema said.
The EFF leader also applauded initiatives for government to get bargains in procurement of goods and services, as well as ensuring that suppliers are paid on time.
“That is a good initiative that is combating corruption, and because people must be paid for what they have delivered. No one should hold payment in exchange for bribes even when people have done a quality job,” Malema said.
“We think that intervention will help to create jobs, will help to grow small enterprises which are job creators.”
Malema ended by saying that Gordhan was giving South Africa some form of hope, and that he must be given support to weather the dark political cloud hanging over him.
“We may not agree with him with regard to everything, but must be applauded for standing up to rot and corruption,” Malema said.