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April 2012

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Budgets, transformation, poverty

In an open letter to the Minister of Finance, following this years budget speech, an independent civic entrepreneur and sustainable systems researcher based in the Theewaterskloof municipality of the Western Cape Province, urged Pravin Gordhan to consider:

1) moving local economic development (LED) infrastructure; building it onto the top of the public works agenda;

2) legislating LED onto the top of every municipal government agenda; and

3) properly mobilising mandated LED activities with adequate Treasury funding.

His overriding sentiment was that this year’s budget speech did little to boost the realities faced by local rural economies.

Undoubtedly, every year, the budget presentations seem more progressive, more detailed and more in line with the overall political agenda of the ruling party. But, every year, we fail to see the impact the reinvigorated budgets have on poverty.

And while we understand that government only makes up 30% of the economy, real day-to-day poverty alleviation plans still seem very disjoined from the 2012 budget presentation. The debate around real growth, poverty alleviation, inequity, inequality, high unemployment rates, no real job creation plans outside of the Expanded Public Works Project, needs to be placed firmly back on the public agenda.

In this issue we talk you through the impact the budget has on various aspects of business, high-income earners, and the individual. But the question still remains, how does the budget impact on real change for those at the bottom end of the economic landscape?

Please, dear Minister, where have all the poor gone?

Enjoy,
Raina

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