Wednesday, November 21, 2007

‘Adjusted budgets a victory for poor people’ says COSATU

By Ilhaam Hoosain
20 November 2007


Western Cape Minister of Finance and Tourism Lynne Brown held a briefing on Tuesday to present the Medium Term Budget Policy. The budget which is set to be in place for 2008 and the next three years will affect at least 30 municipalities in the province.

The Western Cape’s COSATU says it welcomes the adjustments to the budget and specifically the allocation of the R322 million towards Health Care in the province. It is said that the National Government will increase the 2008/2011 budget by approximately R3 billion.

The economic growth performance of the Western Cape remains positive and is expected to outperform the national economy in the current financial year, with a provincial growth rate of 5.1% for 2007 compared to a national rate of 4.7%.

The recent cut in beds at both Tygerberg and Groote Schuur hospitals made COSATU take legal action against the State. They made a Section 77 application for the right to strike against these violations of the right to effective Health Service.

“For years poor people have been plagued by poor service delivery from especially this department,” says COSATU Provincal Secretary, Tony Ehrenreich.

The 21 areas identified by Premier Ebrahim Rasool, requires urgent social and economical investment to fight crime, gangsterism, reduce poverty, create employment, speed up performance of the Integrated Sustainable Rural Development Programme will also be focussed on according to Brown.

The areas are: Mitchells Plain, Khayelitsha, Manenberg, Hanover Park, Nyanga, Elsies River, Bishop Lavis, Delft, Kleinvlei, Gugulethu, Phillipi, Muizenberg, and in the rural areas Vredenberg, Kannaland, Paarl, Cederberg, Central Karoo, Witzenberg, Matzikama, Theewaterskloof and Oudtshoorn.

According to Brown job creation is happening but at a very slow pace, which means the Medium Term Budget Policy Statements should look at investment in infrastructure, skills development and access to social services.

“Policy imperatives include Education, Housing, Health, Social Development, Job Creation and SMME Development, to name a few. Other targets are: reducing inequality, providing a basis for sustainable livelihoods and increasing investment in communities,” says Brown.

“But we remain concerned that government only seems to respond to threats of action against them before they take action which will improve the lives of our people.

Every victory gained, like this one, is borne out of peoples’ struggles,” says Ehrenreich.

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