Budgeting for Change – Budget Advocacy in South Africa

Distress or Destitution – why South Africa’s social grants ignore the masses of unemployed

It is remarkable that South Africa’s social security laws are still based on the pre-1994 Social Assistance Act, with tweaks. These laws were aimed at the well-being of white South Africans in the context of virtual full employment for white men. They do not accommodate the lifelong income poverty of millions marginalised from decent work.

The catch is that destitution or poverty, while it may be distressing, is not distress, as defined in the act. If you are poor, you are not distressed, but destitute. And for that state of being, there is no income support.

Many might have forgotten the tireless dedication with which many hundreds of laws on the apartheid statute books were interrogated and rewritten in line with our Constitution after 1994. New institutions of democracy were introduced, others were given a make-over, with varying degrees of success.

CIVIL SOCIETY SUBMISSION RELATING TO COMBATING GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE

2019 Budget not serious about addressing Gender Based Violence

  • This submission focuses on analysing the budget in relation to combating Genderbased Violence (GBV) and femicide.
  • Unfortunately, despite President Cyril Ramaphosa’s pronouncements in the State of the Nation Address (SONA) just two weeks ago, there is no evidence in the budget delivered by Minister Tito Mboweni on 20 February 2019 that government is serious about ending Gender Based Violence in this country.
  • If government is serious about ending Gender Based Violence, it did not come through in the budget.

 

BUDGETING IN AN ERA OF AUSTERITY AND STATE CAPTURE: A FIVE-YEAR REVIEW OF BUDGET POLICIES AND OUTCOMES

This submission is informed by a range of civil society organisations (CSOs) who are part of the Budget Justice Coalition, including the Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC), the Children’s Institute at UCT, the Dullah Omar Institute (DOI), Equal Education (EE), Equal Education Law Centre (EELC), the Institute for Economic Justice (IEJ), the National Shelter Movement, OxfamSA, Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity (PMEJD), the Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM),the Rural Health Advocacy Project (RHAP), SECTION27 and the Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute (SPII).
The purpose of the Budget Justice Coalition is to collaboratively build people’s understanding of and participation in South Africa’s planning and budgeting processes – placing power in the hands of the people to ensure that the state advances social, economic and environmental justice, to meet people’s needs and wellbeing in a developmental, equitable and redistributive way in accordance with the Constitution, including the obligations of the progressive realisation of socio-economic rights contained in the South African Constitution.

 

South Africa is a constitutional democracy.  South Africa’s constitution contains justiciable socio-economic rights (SERs).  These rights include the rights of access to housing, health care services, sufficient food and water and social security.  These rights are however subject to an internal limitation clause that provides that ‘(t)he state must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realisation of each of these rights’.

Budget monitoring in the early years of South Africa’s democracy was a strength within civil society.  Both gender and children’s budget monitoring was strong, and a number of CSOs provided practical training and advocacy for other issue specific NGOs, such as the Institute for Democratic Alternatives in South Africa’s (IDASA) Budget Information Service and Children’s Budget Unit; the People’s Budget Campaign of the South African NGO Coalition (SANGOCO), the South African Council of Churches (SACC) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), as well as the group of CSOs of the Budget and Expenditure Monitoring Forum (BEMF).  This skill has sadly been severely weakened as skilled people have left the sector, and some of the institutions themselves have closed due to, inter alia, issues of sustainability.  The impact of this is that there is no longer an enabling organization that seeks to co-ordinate a progressive civil society voice, and there has been a very real depletion of skills and people able to provide the necessary training to new entrants in to civil society in South Africa on budget monitoring.

2018 NATIONAL BUDGET DIALOGUE ON THE SA APPROPRIATION BILL

SPII was invited as a key Respondent to one of the first Consultative process organised by the Standing Committee on Appropriations following the tabling of the national Budget in February this year.  SPII is active in promoting broader participation in the budgeting process which is supported by our analysis as part of our Socio-Economic Rights Monitoring Project.

 

AUSTERITY IN THE MIDST OF INEQUALITY THREATENS HUMAN RIGHTS

This factsheet examines the enjoyment of economic and social rights in South Africa, ahead of the country’s first appearance before the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in October 2018. Specifically, it uses indicators based on national and international data sources to explore whether the South African government is fulfilling its obligations under Article 2(1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to take steps to progressively realise these rights using the “maximum of its available resources.”