Date: Sat, 14 Mar 98 19:35:29 CST
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SAMWU Press Statement on the 1998 Budget
12 March 1998
SAMWU is highly disappointed that Minister Trevor Manuel used yesterday's budget speech to renew the threat to public service jobs, rather than clearly defining a programme for extending desperately services to more communities. The budget is largely based around discretionary spending by provinces, rather than concrete plans to rebuild the economy, create jobs and practically meet the basic need of the people. In other words, the Reconstruction and Development Programme has been well and truly jettisoned.
There is absolutely no clear link between the proposed downsizing of the public service and the promised transformation of the public sector. Minister Manuel says that we need to keep government consumption spending in check in order to create attractive investment conditions. SAMWU believes that cuts to government spending will take place at great cost to ordinary people, and there is no guarantee that this will attract the desired investment. The proposed retrenchments have clearly been devised merely to fit in with the government's macro-economic GEAR policy, which so far has not proved successful in creating employment or speeding up service delivery. In fact, contracting government consumption spending merely means that government can abdicate their responsibility for meeting basic needs and creating jobs.
As part of SAMWU's anti-privatisation campaign, we will continue to vigorously oppose any restructuring schemes which pave the way for privatisation of public services. SAMWU supports COSATU in its call for the government to honour existing centrally bargained wage agreements with the public sector, and agrees that breaking those agreements will indeed be a recipe for disaster.
Read the speech at http://wn.apc.org/opengov/budget.htm