The Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU) remains concerned about South Africa’s ability to propel economic growth and development after the Minister of Finance’s 2018 Budget Speech.

While IMATU welcomes increased support for education, healthcare and social security, an increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) from 14% to 15% will affect our members and all fellow South Africans. Workers are battling high prices and high debt levels. The cost of basic necessities is constantly increasing and disposable income is decreasing. The increase in VAT and 52c increase in fuel levy are factors that will need to be considered when preparing for the next round of wage negotiations in March.

“In his speech, Minister Malusi Gigaba acknowledged the existing financial management and governance challenges facing numerous municipalities. We believe the strengthening of financial controls, improved revenue and asset management, efficient allocation of resources, cutting of wasteful expenditure and the elimination of corruption will directly benefit service delivery at a local government level. South Africa’s economy needs to grow faster and more inclusively. IMATU continues to support the National Development Plan’s vision of newly developed spatial plans for cities, improved public transport, better procurement and supply chain management and the upgrading of informal settlements. IMATU further welcomes the Minister’s acknowledgement of the economic importance of cities and his commitment to addressing the pressing needs of urban development and inclusive growth,” stated IMATU General Secretary, Johan Koen.

IMATU is also pleased to note the National Government’s intention to work with municipalities in order to effectively respond to the Country’s water crisis. As a union representing local government employees throughout South Africa, the scale and impact of water shortages in numerous Western Cape municipalities necessitated our financial intervention. Through our direct involvement in the drought affected areas, IMATU can confirm with certainty that only a coordinated effort by all social partners at the various tiers of government will bring about a sustainable solution.

“Inclusive economic growth and development will only take place once we start to effectively tackle the challenges of unemployment, inequality and poverty. IMATU believes that with effective leadership, correctly channelled resources, the up-skilling of workers and the rooting out of corruption, Local Government can offer a sustainable service delivery model that will assist in the efficient collaboration between Local, Provincial and National tiers of Government. Our members remain committed to social transformation through a sustainable local government, but it is imperative for the leaders of our country, provinces and municipalities to match this commitment and lead by example.” concluded Koen.