School readiness is a contested and emotional term..
GORDHAN 'OPENS DOOR TO DA POLICIES' - Sapa
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has opened the door to several DA policies in his 2013 Budget, the party said on Wednesday.
"He has opened the door to some DA policies -- first and foremost the idea that the youth wage subsidy is back. In a watered down form its about R5 million rand for that youth wage subsidy," Democratic Alliance shadow minister of finance Tim Harris said.
"The previous incarnation was 1.6 billion, nevertheless it is there and I hope he has the political capital to implement it."
Harris was speaking after Gordhan tabled the 2013 Budget in the National Assembly in Cape Town.
ACDP WELCOMES BUDGET - Sapa
The African Christian Democratic Party broadly welcomed what it described as "conservative budget" by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on Wednesday.
MP Steve Swart said the minister was not swayed from "government's prudent, counter-cyclical fiscal policy" -- despite negative factors such as the labour unrest in mining and agriculture.
Swart did, however, warn the budget deficit and spiralling debt service costs should be contained.
"The size of the budget deficit at present results in debt service costs rising faster than any other category of spending over the medium term, which crowds out spending on developmental priorities," he said.
A greater focus on implementing the National Development Plan (NDP), as well as the R827 billion committed to infrastructure projects won favour with Swart.
"This (NDP), together with the infrastructure development projects will stimulate economic growth, create jobs and make our country more competitive internationally."
Bigger allocations to departments in the criminal justice system were also welcomed.
"In view of public outrage at widespread sexual abuse of vulnerable women and children, both the criminal justice and social development (social workers) sectors need substantial strengthening."
BUDGET SPOT ON: MANTASHE - Sapa
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's Budget speech on Wednesday fitted well with the development programmes of the ruling party, the African National Congress said.
"I'm quite happy in the sense that we are beginning to see numbers now allocated to a programme that has evolved over a period of time," said ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe.
Gordhan said his 2013 Budget was part of the implementation of the National Development Plan.
Mantashe said the expenditure figures on education, housing and health fitted well with the ruling party's plans of advancing the economy.
He said it was pleasing that government was not spending on consumption but investment for the future.
Citizens should not worry about that the budget deficit was beyond 40 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
"If you are investing in infrastructure, therefore the deficit is increasing. You are not wasting that money. You are putting it to increase the capacity of the economy and increase the engine of the economy to the future," he said.
On government's effort to fight corruption Mantashe said: "Results you will see when you want to see them. The problem with us in South Africa is that sometimes we close our eyes to progress. We always look for the negative all the time."
PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING: FREEDOM FRONT PLUS
The implementation of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's budget will be the litmus test to judge its success, Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder said outside Parliament on Wednesday.
"Let's be thankful there is a plan... the test will be the implementation," said Mulder.
He said last year's labour unrest caused R17 billion in a loss of revenue and a rise in debt but the balanced nature of the budget served to address the short-fall.
Mulder was pleased with Gordhan's announcement that the Chief Procurement Office (CPO) was being set up as a means to combat corruption.
"The risk may be a bottle neck. There are many plans that can happen. Let's give it [the CPO] a chance because nothing is working."
But he expressed disappointment with the government opting to increase the fuel levy.
"We are very positive on corruption though disappointed with the fuel levy," said Mulder.
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's 2013 Budget would do nothing to address problems facing the country, Cosatu said on Wednesday.
--- Also reaction from Cosatu:
BUDGET IS BUSINESS AS USUAL: COSATU
"At the time when our people are occupying the streets demanding better houses, affordable, accessible and safe transport, a new incomes policy to close the apartheid wage gap and growing income inequalities, the budget adopts a neoliberal stance, cutting expenditure by more than R10 billion," the Congress of SA Trade Unions said in a statement.
It was concerned that the "conservative and pro-capital" National Development Plan continued to receive endorsement from the government. The union federation said there was no broad endorsement of the NDP.
"The only other formations to have welcomed this have been pro-business opposition parties and big business. Labour and many other progressives in the country have long realised that this plan is the reinforcement of the status quo in economic terms."
It however welcomed incentives to help the manufacturing sector with, among others, the manufacturing competitiveness enhancement programme.