Budget protesters demand “a decent life”

Cry of the Xcluded calls for basic income grant in Wednesday’s budget

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Members of several social justice movements held a “People’s Budget Speak-Out” outside Parliament ahead of the Budget speech on Wednesday. Photo: Ashraf Hendricks

About 100 members of several social justice movements held a “People’s Budget Speak-Out” outside Parliament on Tuesday. They called on Minister of Finance Enoch Godongwana to include a basic income grant in Wednesday’s budget.

The gathering was organised by Cry of the Xcluded and was supported by organisations including the People’s Health Movement, Treatment Action Campaign and Amadoda Aqotho.

“Our communities are collapsing. There is no service delivery,” said Madoda Cuphe, organiser for Cry of the Xcluded. Cuphe said there is money in the budget but services are not being delivered to “the right people” and the government focuses only on the problems of the rich. He said that high crime rates in townships are because people don’t have “options’”, and that jobs, music, sports and education are needed.

People are being “denied a decent life because this government is not delivering the promises that they have made to us 30 years ago”, he said.

Cry of the Xcluded is demanding a “living wage” of at least R12,500 a month compared to about the current minimum wage of R23.19 an hour (about R3,700 a month based on a 160-hour working month).

”We want decent clinics … that will treat people with dignity,” said Sindiswa Godwana of the People’s Health Movement. “Poor people are dying unnecessarily,” she said, though the Constitution says everyone has a right to health. She says that they want the government to speed up the process of National Health Insurance (NHI).

Amadoda Aqotho is a men’s movement in Khayelitsha that focuses on gender based violence. Deputy Secretary Gcobani Ndumndum said that they were demanding a basic income grant of R1,500 a month. He said this would lower crime rates in communities.

Outside Parliament, people sang struggle songs and held up banners stating “End loadshedding” and “Safe and affordable public transport”.

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TOPICS:  Social Grants

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