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Finance minister Tito Mboweni courts mini budget advice

Finance minister Tito Mboweni. / ESA ALEXANDER
Finance minister Tito Mboweni. / ESA ALEXANDER

Finance minister Tito Mboweni is considering inputs from ordinary South Africans as he puts together this week's much-awaited medium term budget.

On Friday, Mboweni took to Twitter calling on South Africans to share their wish list for the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement.

Mboweni tweeted: "Let us do something unusual which will annoy the Establishment. If you were minister of finance, what would you announce on Wednesday next week. It is time for the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS). Over to you. Don't tell the Establishment about this tweet!!."

By yesterday afternoon, the tweet had been re-tweeted more than 2400 times and had amassed about 3000 responses.

Treasury spokesperson Jabulani Sikhakhane said the inputs were being considered.

"The minister will go through contributions by the public for the purpose of his speech in parliament this Wednesday and some of these will also feature in the budget announcement in February," Sikhakhane said.

Former public protector Thuli Madonsela was among those who heeded Mboweni's call.

She responded: "Thanks for being consistently democratic. I'd announce VAT exemption for chicken, it's eaten more by the poor than many VAT insulated items; reduce perks for ministers, MPs/senior public employees and invest in enterprise development and inequality reduction."

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa also chipped in: "Comrade Tito your question is relevant for next year's budget given that you will just be reading Nene's inherited speech. The country would be happy if u can suspend PIC CEO who was protected by Nene. Good luck!"

Ordinary voices gave Mboweni advice on VAT exceptions and cutting government expenditure, including reducing ministerial benefits such as salaries and car allowances.

Tintsi Ngwenya suggested sanitary pads should not be taxed. "Sanitary pads should be tax free. actually, as freely given as condoms and STI/D and HIV testing are given."

Coceka Mfundisi called for the recognition of black tax, suggesting that: "Black tax should be recognised and there must be rebates for those who can prove that they are educating a sibling, providing support for relatives."

Outa's Wayne Duvenage also responded: "Seriously consider the idea of zero increases in taxes and levies because government will be instructed to find the money it needs by reducing waste, corruption and its bloated size."

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