The DA is cautiously optimistic about the reappointment of Nhlanhla Nene as Minister of Finance. We now call on him to reverse the disastrous decision by his discredited predecessor, Malusi Gigaba, to increase VAT to 15%, among other tax increases.

On 20 February, a day before Gigaba delivered his radically anti-poor Budget Speech, I presented the DA’s Budget Preview identifying a “six-pack” of challenges along with proposals to address them. Crucially, we illustrated how we could find R112 billion in savings and asset sales this financial year alone and avoid crippling tax increases.

I will forward our proposals to Nene in the earnest anticipation that he will urgently withdraw the draft Rates and Monetary Amounts Bill and amend it to remove all tax increases.

Through robust expenditure cuts, a comprehensive expenditure review and the sale of assets, such as the broad ban spectrum and parts of Eskom, we can make the necessary savings to shield ordinary South Africans from poverty.

It is not too late to undo Gigaba’s mistakes. We look forward to engaging with Minister Nene and charting a new course that will fuel economic growth, create much-needed jobs and shield poor South Africans including the 9,2 million unemployed South Africans from the inflationary pressures that the increases in VAT, fuel levy and other taxes will cause.