The Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader Mmusi Maimane kicked off his party’s anti-poor tax increases petition in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria, on Saturday saying they will fight this on all fronts.

He told a large crowd of young and old DA supporters that it is unacceptable for the ANC to steal public money and then expect the people to pay for it. “We will table this petition in Parliament, and bring the voice of the people to the ears of the out of touch, self-serving ANC. We will also unequivocally oppose the passing of the Bill which will give effect to the VAT increase from April 1.

“We call on all MPs to vote against the laws that will give effect to these taxes, which will come before Parliament in the coming weeks. This includes the ANC’s alliance partners in Parliament,” Maimane said. The DA leader said the raising of VAT by 1% in effect means that we will all be paying 7.14% more tax on everyday goods.

“This, combined with a significant fuel levy increases, will make food and transport more expensive. Life will get harder for the most vulnerable in society. “I will offer President Ramaphosa my support when he takes action that will benefit the country. However, raising VAT and transport levies will not benefit the country, it will do the very opposite – and it will hit the poor and the jobless the hardest,” Maimane told the crowd.

He said the National Budget, tabled in Parliament last Wednesday by Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, was the first tangible action taken by government since the election of a new president last week and the first opportunity to see this government’s plans in action, and access its priorities.

“Sadly, it represents no real change. It is undoubtedly one of the most anti-poor budgets we have ever seen – and it amounts to an assault on the poor.”