Acts Online
GT Shield

Budget Speech 2015

Strategic priorities for growth and development



As outlined by President Zuma in the State of the Nation Address on the 12th of February, Cabinet has a greed on nine strategic priorities to be pursued this year, in partnership with the private sector and all stakeholders. They include:


1)        Resolving the energy challenge,


2)        Revitalising agriculture,


3)        Adding value to our mineral wealth,


4)        Enhancing the Industrial Policy Action Plan,


5)        Encouraging private investment,


6)        Reducing workplace conflict,


7)        Unlocking the potential of small enterprises,


8)        Infrastructure investment, and


9) Support for implementation of the National Development Plan through in-depth, results-driven processes, known as phakisa laboratories.


The first of these laboratories focused on the oceans economy, including off-shore oil and gas exploration and aquaculture opportunities. Already this has led to investment of R9.6 billion in Saldanha Bay.


Strategies for improving primary health clinics have also been developed through a phakisa process. The mining sector will be next. These processes draw widely on the talents and expertise of South Africans, from the public and private sectors, and the scientific and research community.


In each of these areas, there are many programmes and interventions underway, and numerous stakeholders and institutions involved.


Members of the House will appreciate, however, that having a plan and a series of activities is not enough. Intensive effort has to go into the details of implementation, understanding the risks and opportunities of changing market conditions as well as identifying institutional and financial options.


There are many possible plans and priorities: the challenge of governance is to choose wisely between competing alternatives.


The budget process plays a role in clarifying these options, probing their costs and assessing implementation modalities. It seeks to allocate resources systematically and fairly.


This year, we received around 400 tips from fellow South Africans on the budget. Quite rightly, there are two main areas of concern.


1) Many people have concerns about public service delivery. For example, Asif Jhatham advises that municipalities should follow SARS in adopting electronic payments systems. Marc de Chalain appeals for an improved work ethic and pride in a job well done in the public service. Mpumelelo Ncwadi suggests that youth-owned cooperatives should be supported to produce lettuce and herbs for local hospitals and schools.


2) And then there is advice on tax matters. Christopher Pappas suggests that fast foods should be subject to sin tax. Mandy Morris says it is time VAT was increased to 15 per cent. On the other hand, Thabile Wonci proposes that young professionals should be exempt from tax for at least one year of work.


Fellow South Africans, I will return shortly to these tax questions.


The budget documents I table today are designed to make our budget choices and their implications transparent. The processes which follow in this House, bringing medium term plans and programmes under the scrutiny of portfolio committees and subjecting Ministers and officials to Parliamentary accountability, are essential disciplines in the translation of plans into service delivery programmes.


And so in presenting this Budget to Members of the House, I am obliged to caution that it again comprises a weighty set of documents and explanatory papers. Members who feel that the burden of after-hours reading is excessive are referred to my predecessors, Minister Gordhan and former Minister Manuel, who oversaw the design of these instruments of accountability.


Thankfully their advice to me is that it does not all have to be incorporated into the budget speech.


Allow me therefore to recommend this year’s Budget Review for the further attention of Members. It is somewhat differently structured from the past. There is a new chapter on the financial position of public sector entities, and an annexure on progress in infrastructure spending.