The DA attended the VAT public hearings that were held today in Parliament before the Standing Committee on Finance (SCOF) where we reiterated our position that the 1% VAT increase must be scrapped as it is affecting the livelihoods of 9.2 million unemployed and poor South Africans.
I led the attendance at the public hearings because social grants recipients will be among the biggest losers of the VAT hike. The above inflation increase of social grants, particularly child grants, is simply not enough to ease the effects of the VAT increase.
The DA has noted the decision to review the zero-rated item list. While this is a welcome decision and will go some way in alleviating the repercussions of this anti-poor VAT increase, the reality is that in the past this list has not always been a true reflection of the items that the poor and vulnerable truly need for sustenance.
The DA has long held the view that the 1% VAT hike is a veiled attempt by the ANC government to make the poor pay for maladministration and corruption that continues to fester under its watch. For instance, government will bailout SAA to the tune of billions to subside a failing SOE but taxes the poor.
Instead of increasing VAT, it is possible to cut the equivalent amount out of the bloated expenditure budget through interventions such as reducing the number of ministries to 15, freezing salaries and bonuses of senior public sector employees, selling Telkom shares and selling unused state assets.
The DA have consistently opposed the VAT hike and took the fight to the National Treasury in Tshwane where a memorandum was handed over to Treasury officials. In addition, South Africans continue to express their displeasure at the VAT increase by signing the VAT petition launched by the DA – https://notovatincreases.co.za/
South Africans will have the last say in the 2019 elections, where it is almost certain that the ANC government will have to answer at the ballot box on why it passes the tab to taxpayers to pay for its widespread and deeply rooted corruption.