This essay will discuss and compare the implemented and proposed fiscal policies by the South African Government with those proposed by trade unions. It will specifically focus on the policies proposed by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Government. The essay will further analyse the impacts of these policies based on their affordability, impact on economic growth, unemployment and whether they will support economic inclusion.
A trade union is an establishment of workers who have collaborated to achieve common goals in the workforce and economy. The aims of COSATU are: to fight for employees’ rights through social and economic justice for all employees; to understand the economy, how it affects employees and devising alternative policies on the structure of the economy to benefit all those employed; to seek just living standards, fair working conditions for all those employed and social security. (Congress Of South African Trade Unions, 2006)
On February 24, 2014, the South African Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan delivered the 2014 Budget Speech, in which it is highlighted that South Africa’s economic growth is targeted at 5 percent per annum. It is further highlighted that the government’s plan to achieve this target is through public investment, a tax incentive to encourage youth employment, improve the quality of education and further investment in renewable energy and to support the adjustment to a low-carbon economy. After the 2008/2009 Global economic crisis – in which countries most countries have not yet recovered from, including Germany and the United Kingdom, whom are South Africa’s major trading partners – the economy still remains in a recession. Thus, in order to counter the recession and achieve the economic growth target, the government has proposed (mainly) increased government expenditure and decreased taxes.
In terms of the government expenditure, the government has proposed: to spend R15.2 billion to help the export sector and enhance economic competitiveness; to invest, socially, R78 billion on students through university subsidies and a further R19.4 billion on the National Student Financial Assistance Scheme, to assist the youth to further their tertiary education; R847 billion will be spent over the next 5 years, on infrastructure, which includes R43 billion on social infrastructure – which consists of community facilities such as hospitals and libraries; R7 billion will be given to aid subsistence and smallholder farmers; social assistance grants will increase (in April 2014) with disability and old age grants increasing by 6.3 percent, Foster care grants increasing by 3.75 percent and the child grant increasing by 3.3 percent in April and a further 3.2 percent in October 2014. (Republic of South Africa, 2014, p. 10)
The proposed reduced taxes include: a tax relief of R9.3 billion in personal income taxes for South Africans earning less than R250 000 per annum;...