Budget puts the people first

Finance Minister Trevor Manuel took time in his Budget Speech yesterday to remind us of the values on which our nation is founded - the equality of all human life.

Finance Minister Trevor Manuel took time in his Budget Speech yesterday to remind us of the values on which our nation is founded - the equality of all human life.

Manuel's pro-poor Budget should be viewed in this context.

The additional social spending, increased income tax relief for especially low-earners and the proposed wage subsidy should improve the lives of the poor.

It might not seem much to some, but even the additional R20 for child grants make a big difference in the life of a desperately poor child. Ask anybody who has had to go to bed on an empty stomach!

The R50 increase for pensioners and the abolition of the senseless tax on retirement funds will put a jingle in the pockets of senior citizens.

The proposed mandatory retirement scheme for all is a brilliant idea that should see people take responsibility for their own welfare, easing the burden on the taxpayer.

Having said that, it is impressive that our government espouses the values of botho-ubuntu and budgets accordingly.

It must now act to ensure all public servants internalise these values and actually put people first - Batho Pele.

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