SECTION27 TO MAKE ORAL SUBMISSIONS TO PARLIAMENT ON 2022 DIVISION OF REVENUE BILL
23 March 2022, Johannesburg – SECTION27 will today make presentations before the Select Committee on Appropriations on the Division of Revenue Bill, following the tabling of the 2022 Budget by Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana on 23 February 2022.
SECTION27’s submissions analyse some of the human rights impacts of this year’s Division of Revenue Bill. Cuts to social spending in basic education and healthcare have been made but Treasury has not adequately provided a framework for transparent and participatory human rights impact assessments which demonstrate that these reductions will not increase inequality or undermine people’s constitutionally protected rights. We believe that the current proposals allocating funding to provinces for the delivery of basic education and healthcare services are retrogressive and may jeopardise people’s human rights.
In our written submissions, which you can access here, we have argued that this Division of Revenue Bill (DoRB) prioritises reducing debt servicing costs at the expense of the fulfilment of the human rights to basic education and access to healthcare, with loan repayments now receiving a larger share of national expenditure than allocations for either health or basic education.
As things stand, spending on both basic education and healthcare will be reduced in real terms over the medium term. It is important that conditional grants and provincial equitable share allocations for basic education and healthcare are, at the very least, kept in line with inflation and population growth so that these disbursements can meet current and future demands on them. The DoRB is also almost entirely silent on issues of gender and does not adequately address gender inequality or gender-based violence and femicide (GBV-F). Parliament has the power to challenge the Division of Revenue that is currently envisaged by Treasury and must do so in order to meet its constitutional duties to the people of South Africa.
While health and basic education have faced additional challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic over and above the pre-existing structural problems experienced by both sectors, Treasury’s proposed division of revenue fails to acknowledge the need for recovery in these crucial human rights sectors. Additional injections of funding are desperately needed to reduce backlogs in infrastructure projects and access to services, but this year’s budget will see reductions – in real terms – for important conditional grants and provincial equitable shares for both basic education and healthcare over the medium term. Learners and healthcare users in the public sector will feel the brunt of these cuts most acutely.
SECTION27 will be presenting its analysis of the Division of Revenue Bill and recommendations for Parliament between 9am and 12pm today. This forms part of our broader advocacy actions aimed at demanding that Treasury undertake an assessment of the short and long-term impacts that retrogressive budget decisions of recent years have had on human rights.
For media queries:
– Julia Chaskalson (firstname.lastname@example.org 0834402674)