Die 2013 begrotingstoespraak


Minister Gordhan. Foto: News24

Minister Gordhan. Foto: News24

Francois Williams en David van Rooyen

Kaapstad,Parlement-Suid-Afrikaners kon na gistermiddag se begrotings­rede behoorlik ‘n sug van verligting slaak.

Daar het toe niks gekom van die bespiegelings dat hoër belasting op pad is en dat veral die rykes gaan deurloop nie.

“Boe! Julle het gedink ek gaan belastings verhoog en ek het nie,” het Pravin Gordhan, minister van finansies, gister op ‘n mediakonferensie voor die begrotingsrede met joernaliste geskerts.

Die minister het trouens R7,3 miljard se verligting aan belastingbetalers gegee deur die belastingdrempels soos gewoonlik aan te pas om vir inflasie voorsiening te maak.

Nie veel daarvan gaan egter in belastingbetalers se sakke beland nie omdat die minister weer R5,8 miljard teruggevat deur soos gewoonlik petrol, drank en tabak hoër te belas.

Die swakker ekonomie, wat daartoe gelei het dat die staat sowat R16 miljard minder belasting ingesamel het as wat verwag is, is die rede waarom ontleders verwag het dat Jan Publiek vanjaar meer sal moet opdok.

Die vrese is vererger nadat pres. Jacob Zuma in sy staatsrede aangekondig het dat ‘n kommissie die land se belastingstelsels gaan ondersoek.

Dit is nie te sê dat die belastingbetaler nie dalk in die toekoms meer sal moet opdok nie.

Volgens Gordhan is daar besluit om nie aan die belastingstelsel te torring nie omdat die ekonomie so swak is.

“As die ekonomie egter aanhou sukkel, en belastinginkomste daal steeds, sal daar dalk geen ander opsie wees as om belasting te verhoog nie,” het hy gewaarsku.

Regter Dennis Davis is as voorsitter van die belastingkommissie aangestel.

Die regering het vanjaar besluit om meer geld te leen om sy besteding te finansier, maar die stap is nie deur ekonome en die internasionale graderingsagentskappe verwelkom nie.

Die agentskappe het Suid-Afrika se internasionale kredietgradering juis die laaste paar maande verlaag omdat hulle bekommerd is dat die regering nie meer in staat is om staatsbesteding in bedwang te hou nie weens die druk vir verhoogde welsynsbesteding.

Die nuus dat die begrotingstekort tot 5,2% van die bruto binnelandse produk gestyg het, vergeleke met 3,1% verlede jaar, het die rand onder druk geplaas.

Gordhan het egter beloof dat die tekort in bedwang gebring gaan word deur suiniger te werk met die geld wat die regering wel inkry.

Gordhan het sterk klem gelê op die nasionale ontwikkelingsplan en gesê voortaan gaan alle programme en begrotingsraamwerke in die konteks van die plan pas.

Hy wil vermorsing en korrupsie in die staatsdiens vasvat as deel van sy plan om geld beter te bestee. Kenneth Brown, ‘n topamptenaar in die tesourie, is aangestel as die eerste hoof van die sentrale kantoor vir staatsaankope, wat sal poog om tenderkorrupsie hok te slaan.

Sekere staatsbates sal verkoop word of beter aangewend word as die regering nie genoeg belasting insamel nie, maar Gordhan wou nie toegee dat dit op privatisering neerkom nie.

Blitsig bereken

Gaan jy minder inkomstebelasting betaal? Sake24.com se aanlyn-belastingrekenaar sal jou gou kan help. Gaan na⁠ http://begroting.sake24.com/belasting.html ⁠om dit blitsig uit te werk.

- Vir al die inligting oor vanjaar se begroting gaan na ⁠http://begroting.sake24.com/index.html

Philip Se Spoeg Blog:Eerste met alles! Kopiereg 2012

Reaksie Op Die Begroting. Hoe Voel Jy Daaroor?


Gemengde reaksie het gister uit verskillende oorde ingekom op die minister van finansies se begrotingstoespraak in die parlement.

Rokers en drinkers gaan soos gewoonlik meer moet opdok maar daar is die normale verligting op persoonlike belasting.Brandstof word ook verhoog en die omstrede Gauteng tolstelsel word gefinansier sodat motoriste minder tolgeld kan betaal behalwe busse en taxis wat nie hoef te betaal nie. Die Rand was gister middag R7-71 vir ‘n dollar gewees terwyl die algehele indeks ook gedaal het. Die Vryheidsfront plus se leier,Dr. Pieter Mulder,het gister dadelik op die begrotingsrede gereageer. Dr. Mulder het gese dat minister Pravin Gordhan daarin geslaag het om die begrotingstekort onder 5% te hou. Hy het gese dit behoort die internasionale kredietgraderingsmaatskappye se beoordeling van Suid-Afrika positief te beinvloed.

“Die kompromie wat minister Gordhan rondom die Gauteng tolpaaie-projek moes maak, kos belastingbetalers nou miljoene rand as gevolg van die lomp beplanning en swak hantering van die projek sedert die aanvanklike besluite in 2007 geneem is.”

Mulder het ook gese dat met inflasie ongeveer 6% is die 20% verhoging van die brandstofheffing totaal uit verhouding hoog.Hy het ook gese dat dit bitter onregverdig is dat taxis van tolgelde vrygestel is aangesien taxis reeds geld uit die land se paaie maak.

Die ACDP se Steve Swart het ook hul ongelukkigheid te kenne gegee met die verhoging in die brandstof prys. COPE se reaksie op die begroting was positief gewees en die DA was bekommerd omrede befondsing nie beskikbaar gestel is om werklose jeug te subsidieer nie.

COSATU was ook ongelukkig oor die massiewe klomp geld wat aan SANRAL betaal word vir die Gauteng tolstelsel. Daar kan verwag word dat die vonke behoorlik in die alliansie hieroor gaan spat.

Gordhan het gister tekenne gegee dat Suid Afrika finansieel gesond is maar dat moeilike tye tog voorle.
Die vasvat van munisipaliteite wat nie hul begrotings ten volle gebruik nie en die poging om korrupsie in Staatsdepartemente te probeer uitroei is ‘n positief in die minister se toespraak.

Hoe voel jy oor die begroting wat gelewer is? Lewer gerus jou kommentaar.

Philip van Staden
Redakteur,Vryskut skrywer,
Aktivis en Politikus.
Kopiereg 2012

Die 2012 Begrotingstoespraak-Hier Is Dit Woord Vir Woord.


Die minister van finansies, Pravin Gordhan,is tans besig om sy begrotingstoespraak vir 2012 in die parlement te lewer.

Hier volg dele van die minister se toespraak woord vir woord soos tans deur hom gelewer in die Parlement in Kaapstad.

Speech by the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan.
2012
Budget Speech
Minister of Finance
Pravin Gordhan
Honourable speaker
It is my privilege to introduce the third budget of President Zuma’s administration.

Overview of the 2012 Budget
We remain steadfast in addressing the challenges of creating jobs, reducing poverty, building infrastructure and expanding our economy.
In brief, Mister Speaker, today’s budget advises the following:
The global environment remains highly uncertain. While there are signs of a revival in the US economy, much of Europe is in recession, and significant financial risks cloud the global economic outlook.
South Africa’s finances are in good health. A budget deficit of 4.6 per cent of GDP is projected in 2012/13. We plan to reduce the deficit to 3 per cent of GDP in 2014/15, and public debt will stabilise at about 38 per cent of GDP.
An expansion in infrastructure investment is one of the central priorities of the 2012 Budget.
Special emphasis is given to improving competitiveness in industry, investment in technology, encouragement of enterprise development and support for agriculture.
Total spending will reach R1.1 trillion next year, representing some 32 per cent of GDP.
Education, health and social assistance will remain the largest categories of expenditure, sustaining and expanding the social wage over the MTEF period ahead. Investment in people is at the centre of our growth and development strategy.
The budget continues to support job creation, with a particular focus on unemployed youth.
The budget provides for personal income tax relief of R9.5 billion, with further measures to increase tax compliance.
Measures are proposed to invigorate household savings.
We will strengthen financial management in the public sector, pursue value for money with the greatest possible vigour and ensure that taxpayers’ money is well used.
Fraud and corruption will be combatted through changes to procurement policies and practices and tough enforcement of the law.
Giving the budget practical effect cannot be a project of government alone. In Setswana, we say “Mabogo dinku a thebana” meaning “we have to work together to achieve more”. Government has supported the recovery from the 2008 recession, but as we expand infrastructure investment over the period ahead we have to see business investing in our future as well. Government has expanded social assistance to households over the past decade, but employment and economic growth have to be the main future drivers of income growth and poverty reduction. Government is responsible for developing effective municipalities and broadening access to services, but business, civil society and organised labour have to be partners in building cohesive communities and promoting social solidarity.
And so Mister Speaker, in tabling the 2012 Budget we have to say: this is what we undertake to do, not just as government, but as a nation. Our development requires every one of us to ask – what can I do for my country, my people, our future!
The global environment
Allow me to reflect briefly, Mister Speaker, on the global environment and the historic shift in economic power that is taking place.
In 2012, global output is projected to expand by 3.3 per cent. Advanced economies are expected to grow 1.2 per cent, while developing Asia will grow by 7.3 per cent during 2012, and Sub Saharan Africa by 5.5 per cent.
Negative growth is forecast for the Euro area, impacting on trade in many other economies.
In the last 5 years, the Chinese economy has expanded by 60 per cent and India by about 45 per cent. Advanced economies barely show positive growth. A recent World Bank study argues that “new growth poles are redefining the global economic structure”. This study predicts that emerging economies will grow on average by 4.7 per cent a year, while advanced economies will grow by about 2.3 per cent between 2011 and 2025.
The speed of transformation is unprecedented and places emerging economies at the centre of the global economy. Emerging market multinationals are playing an ever increasing role in reshaping global industry, including marked increases in South-South investment and foreign direct investment.
The evolving world we face presents us with both challenges and opportunities.
Financial commentator Martin Wolf recently wrote: “Shaping this new world into a cooperative and flourishing order is going to prove extraordinarily challenging. History suggests that such times of transition, however inevitable and however just, are fraught with conflict and instability. Today, the western dominance of at least two centuries is under severe challenge. This period of transition is unlikely to be any less fraught than those that preceded it.”
To succeed in this environment, we have to seize the opportunities presented by this changing world.
As a major mining economy, we should be benefiting more from the continued buoyancy in commodity markets internationally. We also need to take advantage of rising demand for agricultural and manufacturing goods. Some 85 million manufacturing jobs in China will shift to other countries over the years ahead. Do we have the right policies, conditions and boldness to enable South African businesses to gain from these immense shifts in the patterns of production and trade?
There are expanding opportunities on our own continent. Africa is the second fastest growing region in the world. This growth is sustained by high commodity prices, but also reflects a youthful, increasingly educated population, rapid urbanisation and a new entrepreneurial spirit. Ten years ago there were fewer than 10 million internet users on the continent. Today they number almost 100 million.
As well as developing South African business interest in the continent, we should use the strength and sophistication of our financial system to turn our country into a true gateway for investment into, and development of, Africa.
Both the National Development Plan and the New Growth Path recognise that to compete in the global economy requires flexibility, innovation and leadership, in government and the private sector. We have to build a more adaptable economy. This requires more effective and dynamic partnership between government, the private sector and civil society.
At the same time, the crisis and its aftermath have revealed intractable problems in the old system. Growing inequalities in income and wealth have undermined economic growth and social well-being. The difficult task of moderating and reversing inequality requires active government intervention. Unregulated capitalism is clearly in crisis.
Economic outlook
In building partnerships that will take us through this crisis, Mister Speaker, we have to implement a strategy for faster and more inclusive economic growth. We are not doing well enough in growing our economy and creating jobs for our young people.
The South African economy has averaged about 3 per cent growth a year since 2009. Against the background of the slowdown in the global economy, real GDP growth is likely to fall to about 2.7 per cent in 2012.
We expect a recovery to 3.6 per cent and 4.2 per cent growth in 2013 and 2014, but these are modest rates of expansion relative to the social and developmental challenges we face and the opportunities that our mineral wealth and human capabilities offer.
On present trends, the deficit on the current account of the balance of payments will widen from 3.3 per cent in 2011 to 4.4 per cent GDP in 2014.
There was a welcome recovery in job creation during 2011, but employment has not yet returned to its 2008 peak and the unemployment rate remains high at 23.9 per cent.
Vision for the economy in 2030
Mister President through your leadership we are able to say to South Africa and the world that we have a vision for our country and our economy – where we want to get to in the next 20 years.
Our New Growth Path recognises that special employment initiatives have to be a priority in our present circumstances, while in the longer term growth in agriculture and manufacturing, and investment in a knowledge-based economy must be prioritised.
The draft National Development Plan identifies several key objectives:
Lowering costs for both households and business
Increasing public infrastructure spending
Growing our manufacturing and agricultural sectors
Raising mining output
Improving the functioning of the labour market, particularly to help young people access work; and
Raising competitiveness and exports.
In each of these areas there are steps proposed over the three-year period ahead.
Our development strategy requires a capable state, and active citizens. We need parents to work with the state to deliver quality education, community leaders that will help protect neighbourhoods; business leaders and trade unions to grow the economy; investors to create jobs. In isiZulu, “Uzothola kanjani hleli ekhoneni” meaning how far will you get if you are sitting in your corner.
The levers of economic change
Mister Speaker, if we are to succeed in putting our economy on a more rapid and inclusive growth path to 2030, we need to effectively direct and manage the levers of change – levers that activate both public and private sector energies and capabilities.
These include:
Our public-sector infrastructure programme
Support for industrial development and special economic zones
Investment in science and technology
Support for emerging farmers and land reform beneficiaries
Expansion of employment programmes
Improvements in further education and skills development.
The fiscal framework
A sustainable fiscal framework, based on the principles of counter-cyclicality, debt sustainability and intergenerational equity underpins our growth strategy.
Mister Speaker, we can be proud of the collective wisdom and will of our government in making the tough decisions that have kept our fiscus on a sustainable track.
Reprioritisation, savings, haircuts – these have been executed with singular determination.
The consolidated resources available to the state over the MTEF period amount to some R4.5 trillion, taking into account the investment plans of state enterprises and development finance institutions. Key features of the budget framework include:
Real growth in non-interest expenditure averaging 2.6 per cent over the medium term, bringing spending in line with long-term revenue trends.
Additional allocations of R55.9 billion over the next three years, including R9.5 billion for an economic support package.
Tax revenue stabilising at about one-quarter of GDP.
A reduction in the budget deficit from 4.8 per cent in 2011/12 to 3 per cent in 2014/15.
A public-sector borrowing requirement of 7.1 per cent of GDP in 2011/12, declining to 5 per cent in 2014/15 before rapidly rising again as the infrastructure programme of government accelerates.
By phasing in our fiscal consolidation over the medium term, we avoid the social and economic dislocation associated with more rapid adjustments, while still stabilising the fiscal position without burdening the economy and future generations with excessive debt.
Funding of infrastructure
The Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission has made considerable progress in identifying projects and clarifying long-term investment plans to drive economic change.
The Budget Review lists 43 major infrastructure projects, adding up to R3.2 trillion in expenditure. Over the MTEF period ahead, approved and budgeted infrastructure plans amount to R845 billion, of which just under R300 billion is in the energy sector and R262 billion in transport and logistics projects.
These projects are funded in various ways:
The fiscus meets the costs of public-service facilities such as schools and courtrooms, hospitals and rural roads.
Public entities such as Eskom and Transnet finance their investments from internally generated surpluses and borrowing from the capital market. This means they have to generate sufficient revenue from tariffs and charges to repay debt over time, and cover operating and maintenance costs.
In some cases, a mix of tax finance and cost recovery is appropriate – we make budget contributions to the costs of commuter transport services and electricity and water service delivery to low-income communities, for example.
Private sector investment plays a substantial role in several sectors. Access to telecommunications services is financed by private operators, and our airlines industry has several private sector players. The first round of over 1 200MW of renewable energy projects was recently successfully tendered to independent power producers. Private sector capacity can also be through construction and operating concessions, for example in the management of industrial development zones, freight logistics and ports operations.
The Development Bank of Southern Africa will play a coordinating role in raising finance, in partnership with multilateral finance institutions, foreign investors and other investment funds. The Industrial Development Corporation similarly invests directly in income-generating projects, in partnership with other investors.
South Africa has deep and liquid capital markets, through which long-term capital can be raised at competitive rates by government, state enterprises and the private sector.
Our development finance institutions are capable of raising capital and co-financing investments of the private sector, state entities and municipalities. These are considerable strengths – they mean that we do not have to rely on expensive external finance or complex structured arrangements.
But the key consideration, Mister Speaker, is the impact and economic viability of our infrastructure investments. The PICC will ensure expert project assessment, subject to appropriate standards of review and public accountability – a critical requirement before investment decisions are taken.
No good project will be short of funding.
Infrastructure implementation
We are aware of several weaknesses in the state’s infrastructure capacity. In the past, spending has lagged behind plans. Our estimate is that in 2010/11, R178 billion was spent out of a planned R260 billion, or just 68 per cent. We have to do better than that – state enterprises, municipalities and government departments all need to improve their planning and management of capital projects.
In addition to long delays, we have often experienced significant cost over-runs in infrastructure projects. So we shall step up the quality of planning, costing and project management, so that infrastructure is delivered on time, and on budget.
This means that government departments and municipalities that do not spend, under-spend or misspend their allocated funding, will be at risk of losing the allocations. The relevant officials will also be held liable for such misdemeanours. National Treasury will be pro-actively monitoring the spending of grants to ensure value for money, adherence to Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) targets and implementation of operational and maintenance programmes.
Several measures are in place to improve infrastructure project implementation and build management capacity.
Within state-owned entities, development finance institutions and the private sector, considerable capacity is already mobilized in project planning and management.
The Infrastructure Development Improvement Programme assists national and provincial departments, focused largely on education and health projects and support for provincial public works departments. The Construction Industry Development Board has played a key role in developing standards and procedures for government tenders.
A new Cities Support Programme will get under way this year, initially in eight metropolitan authorities, focused on improved spatial planning, public transport systems and management of infrastructure utilities.
The Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency will be established by Minister Baloyi this year, focused on rural municipalities that lack planning capacity.
Technical assistance to municipalities is also provided through the neighbourhood development programme, which supports over 220 projects aimed at catalysing business investment in township partnership projects.
The infrastructure skills development grant supported 150 graduate interns in engineering and spatial planning in 2011/12, and will be extended to a further 43 municipalities over the period ahead.
Special attention will be given to the procurement processes for major infrastructure projects, to ensure both value for money and development of local suppliers and support industries.
Training and mentorship programmes have a critical role to play in addressing capacity constraints of departments and municipalities. But professionalism, hard work and commitment to value for money are preconditions for successful project delivery.
There can be no compromise on the basic principles of sound financial management in ensuring that resources are mobilised efficiently to serve our people.
A capable state focussed on delivery requires a passionate and patriotic public service – without those few individuals whose only desire is to profit from the state.
Revenue estimates and tax proposals
I turn now, Mister Speaker, to the revenue estimates and tax proposals. The underlying principles are that the tax system should be fair, efficient, transparent certain – and, where possible, uncomplicated.
Tax revenue recovered during 2010/11 and 2011/12, following a decline in 2009/10 during the global recession. Although tax revenue is slightly lower than our estimate in February last year, the revised estimate for 2011/12 of R739 billion is R10 billion higher than projected in last year’s Medium Term Budget Policy Statement.
This year’s tax proposals are as follows.
Personal income tax relief
Personal income tax relief of R9.5 billion is proposed, which takes account of inflation and provides modest real tax relief.
Tax treatment of medical expenses
As from 1 March 2012 the tax credit for contributions to medical schemes will be introduced, at a rate of R230 a month for the first two beneficiaries and R154 each for additional beneficiaries. Taxpayers 65 years and older and people with disabilities will be included in the second phase of this reform, which will be implemented in 2014.
These reforms will significantly improve the fairness of the personal income tax system.
Retirement funding and savings
Reform of the tax treatment of contributions to retirement funds is also envisaged, to take effect in 2014.
To encourage voluntary savings, consideration is being given to the introduction of tax-exempt short and medium-term savings products. The proposal is that individuals should be permitted to save up to R30 000 a year, with a lifetime limit of R500 000, in registered savings or investment products that would be free of tax on interest, dividends or capital gains. The current tax free interest income thresholds will be reviewed and possibly phased out as part of this reform.
Full details of the proposals are in the Budget Review.
Dividends tax
The secondary tax on companies will be terminated on 31 March 2012 and a withholding tax on dividends will be implemented on 1 April 2012. This will align South Africa’s tax treatment of dividends with that in most other countries. Pension funds will benefit from this transition as they will receive dividends tax free. The dividend tax will be introduced at 15 per cent.
Capital gains tax
The introduction of capital gains tax in October 2001 was an important step in broadening the tax base.
In order to reduce the scope for tax arbitrage and broaden the tax base further, the CGT inclusion rate for individuals and special trusts will be increased with effect from 1 March 2012 from 25 to 33.3 per cent, and for companies and other trusts from 50 to 66.6 per cent. To mitigate the impact on middle-income earners, the various exclusion thresholds are increased.
Relief for small businesses
Mister Speaker, I am pleased to advise that there will be further tax relief for small businesses and micro-enterprises.
The tax-free threshold for small business corporations is increased to R63 556, the 10 per cent rate is reduced to 7 per cent and the threshold up to which this rate applies is increased to R350 000. For taxable income above R350 000, the normal 28 per cent corporate rate applies.
With effect from next month, qualifying micro-businesses (within the R1 million turnover limit) will be able to pay turnover tax, VAT and employees’ tax twice a year. This means that the number of returns and payments a year will be reduced from about 18 to just two.
Corporate tax measures
Several measures are set out in the Budget Review to improve the corporate tax environment, Mister Speaker:
Further steps will be taken to limit excessive debt financing
Amendments to the mark-to-market taxation of foreign currency and other financial instruments will be phased-in
The governance and tax treatment of property loan stock entities will be aligned with the present treatment of regulated property unit trusts
Tax relief is proposed for housing developers and employers who provide housing below R300 000 a unit.
Special economic zones
The Minister of Trade and Industry has published draft legislation to provide for the creation of special economic zones. Tax relief is under consideration for businesses that invest in these zones, including a reduction in the corporate income tax rate and support for employment and training expenses.
Carbon tax
A revised policy paper on a carbon tax will be published this year for a second round of public comment and consultation. As set out in the Climate Change Response White Paper approved by Cabinet in 2011, the need to price carbon emissions and the phasing in of a tax instrument for this purpose are accepted.
Electricity levy
The levy on electricity generated from non-renewable sources will increase by 1c/kWh as from 1 July 2012 and will replace the current funding mechanism for energy-efficiency initiatives such as the solar water geyser programme. There should be little overall impact on electricity tariffs.
Fuel levies
The general fuel levy on petrol and diesel will be increased by 20c with effect from 4 April 2012, and the Road Accident Fund will increase by 8c to 88c/l.
Square Kilometre Array
Members of the House will know that under the guidance of the Minister of Science and Technology, South Africa is bidding to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), an international collaboration to build the world’s largest radio telescope. I am happy to confirm that the project will qualify for VAT relief, which will surely give Minister Pandor the winning edge in this contest.
Tax on gambling
Following the 2011 Budget proposal on gambling, it is proposed that a national tax based on gross gambling revenue should be introduced effective from 1 April 2013, as an additional 1 per cent levy on a uniform provincial gambling tax base. A similar base will be used to tax the national lottery.
Excise duties on tobacco and alcohol products
Dhiveshan Naicker has offered the following tip, Mister Speaker: “Raise the tax on alcohol and cigarettes so that people will stop drinking and smoking too much”. This is good advice. The increases in duties on tobacco products will be between 5 and 8 per cent this year.
In respect of beer and spirits, an increased benchmark tax burden is proposed, to be phased in over two years. The excise on spirits will increase by 20 per cent to R36 for a 750 ml bottle this year, the tax on beer goes up by 10 per cent to R1.01 for a 340 ml can and wine will contribute 8 per cent more to the fiscus.
Tax on financial transactions
South Africa has a financial transaction tax on securities transfers, at a rate of 0.25 per cent. It is proposed that the current exemption for brokers should be abolished. Transactions for the broker’s benefit will be taxed at a lower rate. The inclusion of financial derivatives in the base of the securities transfer tax is also under consideration.
Ad valorem excises
With effect from October this year, an ad valorem excise duty at a rate of 7 per cent will apply to small aeroplanes and helicopters with a mass below 5 000 kg. A duty of 10 per cent will apply to motorboats and sailboats longer than 10 metres.
Tax administration
Mister Speaker, whereas several nations around the world are confronting severe austerity measures and significantly higher taxes, we are able to propose tax relief of R2.3 billion overall, in part because of the strength of our tax policy and administration, and in part because millions of South Africans pay their taxes and duties in full and on time.
The recent Voluntary Disclosure Programme has attracted approximately 18 000 applications, and has yielded almost R1 billion in additional tax so far. It has also provided useful insights into areas of non-compliance that will receive focused attention, including:
Under-declaration of income such as rental and foreign income and capital gains
Claiming of excessive income deductions
Under-declaration of VAT outputs and inflating of VAT inputs
Abuse of share incentive schemes by corporate executives
Abuse of benefits granted to foreign persons employed in South Africa
Non-payment of PAYE and failure to submit PAYE returns by employers.
Poor tax compliance is also apparent in respect of trusts and in parts of the construction sector, and the role of tax practitioners and other intermediaries will come under scrutiny. Analysis of compliance among the country’s 34 000 tax advisors shows practitioners owe over R260 million in outstanding taxes and have more than 18 000 income tax returns outstanding in their personal capacity. If that is their attitude to their own tax compliance, one shudders to think what advice they are giving to their clients!
Within the trade environment, customs officials will continue to focus attention on under-valuation of imports, especially in textiles, using a reference price database which industry is helping to update. During the current financial year, SARS has already confiscated 3.4 million articles of clothing and footwear valued at almost R580 million.
In addition SARS has seized drugs worth R139 million and 683 million sticks of cigarettes valued at R180 million. Since April over 230 taxpayers have been successfully prosecuted for a range of tax-related offences resulting in sentences totalling 370 years and nearly R5 million in fines. A further 1 500 tax-related cases are awaiting prosecution with the National Prosecution Authority.
Since 1 April 2011 SARS has issued over 700 000 taxpayers with administrative penalties for failing to submit an income tax return on time as required. These and other measures have helped increase the proportion of on-time submission. SARS received almost 5 million returns during the most recent tax season – a 23 per cent increase over the year before.
The Tax Administration Bill has been approved by Parliament. It incorporates the common administrative elements of current tax law into one piece of legislation, and makes further improvements in this area. The bill is expected to be promulgated and most of its provisions brought into force in 2012.
During 2012, South Africa will establish a dedicated ombud for tax matters. The office is intended to provide taxpayers with a low-cost mechanism to address administrative difficulties that cannot be resolved by SARS.
Nedlac consultation
Mister Speaker, in preparing for the budget, various consultations occur (including a wide range of tips from the public). This year, a pre-budget consultation was held with the Nedlac constituencies. Issues raised included:
The need to shift expenditure towards investment, rather than consumption activities
Sustainability of increases in the public-sector wage bill
Rapid increases in administered prices
Reinforcing taxes on luxury goods and more effective taxation of the super-rich
Budgetary support for rural development and more effective strategies for eliminating poverty
Financial transactions tax
Improving financial management
Support for the community works programme
Responding to rising food prices.
Many of these recommendations find resonance in the contents of the budget and our spending proposals.
Medium-term expenditure proposals
In our spending recommendations, Mister Speaker, we have taken advice from Amanda Mzulwini. “I think that you should spend money on things that matter, like improving healthcare, building more schools in the rural areas and building clinics”.
Job creation
Job creation is a central priority of government. An additional R4.8 billion over the 2012 MTEF period is provided for the expanded public works programme, bringing its allocations to a total of R77.8 billion.
The community work programme receives an additional R3.5 billion, which gives it a total of R6.2 billion, enabling the number of people employed to increase to 332 000 in 2014/15 from 90 000 in March 2011. We will continue to increase allocations to this programme over time.
Working for Water and Working on Fire receive an additional R1.1 billion (a total of R7.7 billion) providing for a total of 135 000 jobs over the medium term.
The non-state sector programme receives an additional R345 million (a total of R1.1 billion).
The National Rural Youth Service Corps receives an additional R200 million (a total of R900 million) over the next three years
R300 million is added to the arts and culture sector for job creation.
Education
Spending on education will grow from R207 billion in 2012/13 to R236 billion in 2014/15. Additional allocations of R18.8 billion over the medium term are accommodated, including equalisation of learner subsidies for no-fee schools and expanded access to grade R. An amount of R235 million is added to the baseline of the national department over the three-year spending period to extend the national assessments system. An additional R850 million is allocated to improve university infrastructure, including student accommodation facilities.
Health and social protection
Medium-term priorities in health spending include hospital infrastructure, the comprehensive HIV and Aids treatment and prevention programme, and expanding health professional training. Progress in these areas will strengthen the public health system, paving the way for the introduction of national health insurance.
The health sector is allocated an additional R12.3 billion over the next three years. R1 billion is allocated for national health insurance pilot projects and increasing primary health care visits. To improve health infrastructure, R450 million has been provided to upgrade about 30 nursing colleges. A further R426 million is allocated for the initial work on rebuilding five major tertiary hospitals. To accommodate provision of antiretroviral treatment at the CD4 threshold of 350, an additional R968 million is made available over the medium term.
Social welfare priorities include early childhood development programmes and the Isibindi childcare and protection programme. These are initiatives which have strong community-based employment benefits, and they are allocated an additional R1.4 billion over the MTEF.
Expenditure on social grants will grow from R105 billion in 2012/13 to R122 billion in 2014/15. At present, nearly 16 million South Africans receive social grants. With effect from April:
The monthly state old age pension and the disability and care dependency grants will rise by R60 a month to R1 200, or R1 220 for pensioners over the age of 75,
Foster care grants will increase by R30 to R770,
The child support grant will increase to R280.
We are mindful that these increases may need to be reassessed if inflation continues to rise.
Transport, Energy and Communication
The budget for transport, energy and communication services increases from R84 billion in 2012/13 to R98 billion in 2014/15, rising by an annual average of 8.4 per cent. A devolution of public transport services to metropolitan municipalities will be phased in over the period ahead, allowing for better integrated public transport networks including rail and bus rapid transit systems.
An additional R4 billion is allocated to the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa to begin purchasing new coaches. The agency also receives R1 billion to build three depots and upgrade signalling in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.
Sentech will receive funding over the MTEF period for the dual illumination of analogue and digital television, and for digital broadcasting infrastructure.
In energy, the focus is on demand-side management to address the impact of limited supply until new generation capacity comes online. An additional R4.7 billion is allocated to complete the installation of one million solar water geysers. R600 million goes to municipalities to install low-energy lighting and equipment. R300 million is rovided for the electrification of informal settlements.

Philip van Staden
Redakteur,Vryskut skrywer,
Aktivis en Politikus.
Kopiereg 2012