Mashaba tells Ramaphosa to 'cut the fat' in his cabinet before increasing taxes for Covid-19 vaccine

22 January 2021 - 10:00
ActionSA president Herman Mashaba launched a public campaign to rally South Africans behind the call for government to reduce its spending before increasing taxes to fund the procurement and rollout of Covid-19 vaccines.
ActionSA president Herman Mashaba launched a public campaign to rally South Africans behind the call for government to reduce its spending before increasing taxes to fund the procurement and rollout of Covid-19 vaccines.
Image: Sunday Times

ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba has urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to trim his cabinet instead of raising taxes to fund the procurement and rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Business Day reported this week that Treasury was considering raising taxes as one of several possible mechanisms to fund the biggest vaccination drive in SA’s history.

Treasury director-general Dondo Mogajane said government viewed Covid-19 vaccines as a public good and was committed to financing their rollout, with or without support from the private sector and medical schemes.

“SA will not take us seriously if I can find money for SAA but not for vaccines,” he said.

Mashaba said Ramaphosa must “cut the fat” by reducing numbers in his cabinet, which consists of 62 ministers and their deputies as well as staff, VIP bodyguards and private security.

He launched a public campaign to rally South Africans behind the call for government to reduce its spending before increasing taxes to fund the vaccines.

“The Cut The Fat campaign calls on all South Africans to draw a line in the sand and say ‘this far and no further’ to a government that continues to spend and live expensively while South Africans are suffering,” Mashaba said.

He said last year’s hard lockdown brought economic hardships on households in the country, with small businesses closing and more than 2-million jobs lost as a result.

“A government that raises tax on any South African under these economic conditions would have to prove it had done everything in its power to reduce its own expenditure first,” he said.

Mashaba said during his tenure as Johannesburg mayor, his administration was able to cut R2bn in non-essential expenditure.

“This was just one of 278 municipalities in SA, let alone what is possible in the nine provinces and the national budget. From R378m spent annually on self-promoting advertising and marketing, to more than R40m on travel and R1m on DStv connections, Johannesburg was spending money without regard for how hard its residents worked to earn it. The same would be true across all ANC-run governments,” he said.

He urged Ramaphosa to show leadership by example.

“While there are many budget cuts that have to be made, the president should start by showing us a new cabinet that can fit into an average boardroom,” he said.

On social media, many agreed with Mashaba, saying the government should also stop paying suspended minister full salaries.

Here is a snapshot of what many had to say.


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