Parliament, reject the unconstitutional 2021 budget!

Over 200 social movements, trade unions, civil society organisations and individuals call on Parliament to reject the 2021 Budget and uphold human rights. 


More than 200 civil society organisations, trade unions, social movements and concerned individuals have added their voices to a growing call for Parliament to reject the budget tabled by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni on 24 February 2021. Our open letter is endorsed by progressive organisations representing more than 1.5million people, including trade unions and union federations representing hundreds of thousands of workers in a number of important South African industries, as well as social movements from poor and working class communities across the country. 

We believe that this budget is unconstitutional, and in our open letter to members of parliament, we have demanded that our elected representatives overturn the budget. 

The call for Parliamentarians to use their constitutional powers to return the budget to National Treasury and require it to meet its socio-economic rights obligations to the people, is not taken lightly. This demand is made because of the scale of the attack the 2021 budget makes on public services delivered by government, which will negatively impact the majority of people in the country. 

The 2021 Budget tabled by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni on behalf of the Executive directly attacks socio-economic rights enshrined in the Constitution with severe funding cuts to health, social grants, basic education and other public spending totalling -R265 billion over the next three years.:

These cuts come at a time of immense hardship for many as the economy faces its worst downturn in 75 years, with poverty, unemployment and inequality reaching record levels. 

A Joint Sitting of the National Council of Provinces and National Assembly Standing Committees on Finance meets on 9 and 10 March 2021 to debate its report on the fiscal framework proposed in the budget. This is the first Committee in Parliament to make recommendations on the budget. The Committee may recommend the adoption, amendment or the rejection of the fiscal framework, which reflects the overall spending, revenue and borrowing plans. 

We say that this is an austerity fiscal framework that lays the burden of “fiscal consolidation” firmly on the backs of the poor and working classes, attacking our Constitutional rights while handing out tax breaks to corporates and high income earners – and therefore must be rejected. 

The attached Open Letter to Parliament, endorsed by trade unions, civil society organisations and grassroots collectives around the country, calls on MPs to send the budget back to the National Treasury and require it to meet its socio-economic rights obligations and consider alternative ways of managing our public debt. 


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The open letter is endorsed by over 200 signatories including trade unions, social movements, NGOs and 125 individuals. If you would like to sign as an organisation or individual, click here: your signature will be added to the list. The full list which continues to be updated can be accessed here.

Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU)
Commercial, Stevedoring, Agricultural and Allied Workers Union (CSAAWU)
Democratic Municipal and Allied Workers Union (DEMAWUSA)
Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU)
National Health, Education and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU)
National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (NUPSAW)
Public Allied Workers Union of South Africa (PAWUSA)
Public Services International (PSI)
South African Domestic Services and Allied Workers Union (SADSAWU)
South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU)
South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU)
#PayTheGrantsJohannesburg Informal Traders Platform
Abahlali base Freedom ParkKeepLeft
Abahlali baseMjondoloLand Rights Organisation of South Africa
African Water Commons CollectiveMakause Community Development Forum
Alrapark and Mckenziville Housing CommitteeMarikana Youth Development Organisation
Amadiba Crisis CommitteeNtinga Ntaba kaNdoda
Amandla Port Elizabeth ForumProgressive Organisations Forum (POF)
Assembly of the UnemployedPrimrose Back Yard Dwellers Forum
Back2Work CampaignRight2Know Campaign
Black Consciousness Movement UnitedRobertsham Tenants Association
Botshabelo Unemployed MovementRural Women Assembly South Africa
Brinville Unemployment ForumSANCOYO
C19 People’s CoalitionSandvlei united community organization
Concerned Community of AlexandraSisonke Revolutionary Movement
Eastern Cape Water CaucusSocialism from Below
Equal EducationSouth African Green Revolutionary Council
Extinction RebellionTenants association of Robertsham
Fight Inequality Alliance GautengThe Social Process NPC
Fight Inequality Alliance South AfricaUnemployed People’s Movement
Free State Rural Women AssemblyUnited Front
Gauteng Housing Crisis CommitteeWaterberg Women Advocacy Organization
Housing AssemblyWestside Park Community Crisis Committee
Inyanda National Land Movement 
350Africa.orgPietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity Group
Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC)Polisee Space
Black SashRural Health Advocacy Project
Centre for Child LawSàm Soya Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (SSCDHR)
Children’s Resource centreSection27
Co-operative and Policy Alternative Centre (COPAC)Siyakhanyisa HIV/AIDS Support Group
Equal Education Law CentreSouth African Youth Business Forum
Ficksburg Community Advice OfficeSouthern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI)
Firstsource MoneyStudies in Poverty and Inequality Institute (SPII)
groundWorkThe Rock of Hope
Institute for Economic Justice (IEJ)Trade & Industrial Policies Strategies (TIPS)
International Labour Research and Information Group (ILRIG)Trust for Community Outreach and Education (TCOE)
Masithobelane Support groupTshebedisano Support Network
National Labour and Economic Development Institute (NALEDI)Western Cape Forum for Intellectual Disability
Open SecretsWomen on Farms Project
People’s Health Movement South AfricaWorkers World Media Productions