The Democratic Alliance (DA) has expressed dissatisfaction with Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana’s response to potential tax hikes in the 2024 financial year following his post-Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) on Wednesday
In briefing on Thursday, Godongwana chose not to delve into the details of potential tax hikes for the 2024 financial year, according DA Shadow Minister of Finance, Dr Dion George.
He emphasised that it is premature to discuss taxes before the 2024 National Budget.
However, the lack of a definitive response leaves room for ‘speculation, hinting at the possibility’ of taxation increases looming on the horizon.
The DA believes that Godongwana’s explanation fell short of expectations and left room for improvement.
His lack of clarity has sparked concerns about the possibility of increased taxes, according to George.
“As the budget deficit continues to widen due to unexpected expenses and sluggish economic growth, the mounting financial pressures have only been exacerbated by operational inefficiencies and ongoing bailouts to state-owned enterprises, particularly Eskom and Transnet,” said George.
He said DA is deeply troubled by the uncertainty created by the Minister’s ambiguous statements and firmly stands against any additional taxes or rate hikes.
The party argues that such measures will only hinder economic growth, discourage investment and savings, and add more strain on South African families already struggling to make ends meet in the face of a rising cost of living crisis.
According to George, the fact that the cost of living was not even mentioned in the Minister’s speech is indicative of a detached government that lacks empathy for its people.
He argued that this lack of clarity and disregard for the well-being of citizens further highlights the incompetence and inefficiency of the ANC government.
George points out that South Africa already has one of the most oppressive tax systems in the world, and the proposed tax hikes by the ANC only demonstrate their disregard for the struggles of ordinary South Africans.
He firmly believes that the government’s inefficiency, coupled with their obsession with extracting wealth, is the root cause of the country’s economic woes, rather than the hardworking citizens who already contribute more than their fair share.
George warns that if the government goes through with their plan to increase taxes, taxpayers will not hesitate to push back, as they have lost faith in the government’s ability to manage their money effectively.
Instead of resorting to new taxes, George suggests that the Minister consider the alternative proposals put forth by the DA, which prioritize responsible spending and eliminate the need for tax increases.
“In fact, the party’s plan even includes room for reducing fuel taxes and expanding the zero-rated VAT food basket.”
George stresses that the Minister’s refusal to provide clarity on these issues only highlights the ANC government’s lack of concern for the growing number of vulnerable and food-insecure South Africans.
He condemns the government for their incompetence, incapacity, and corruption, stating that they have failed to address the pressing economic crisis facing the country.
While the DA’s alternative plan offers a bold and sustainable path to economic recovery, George laments that the Minister missed a crucial opportunity to take decisive action.
He concludes by emphasizing the urgent need for a government that genuinely cares for its citizens and is willing to make the necessary changes to secure a prosperous future for South Africa.