Most people are heralding the Budget, but President Thabo Mbeki and subsequently Finance Minister Trevor Manual's reluctance to provide immediate relief to the over 25 percent of our nation which are unemployed, in the form of a basic income grant, is wrong.
This is so because billions of rands will be spent on the World Cup 2010, which will last just a few weeks.
As well as having nothing to eat from one day to the next, the unemployed also have no money for transport, for stamps or phone calls to enquire about or answer an advert for a job. They do not even have the money for a decent pair of shoes to go looking for a job. This is a disgraceful situation in the richest country in Africa, where the budget has revealed that there is more than enough money for such a grant.
Just as they did about the condition of the poor in Zimbabwe two years ago, the South African Council of Churches must express much more concern about the unnecessary abject poverty in this country.
We as taxpayers should be insisting, even demanding, that the government provides immediate assistance to our unfortunate unemployed citizens, as indeed falls within its ambit.
Frank Hartry, Kingsburgh