S Africans fairly pleased with budget

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pretoria - While most South Africans who spoke to BuaNews commended Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan for increases in social grants, health and education, others were upset about the fuel price increase.

They said the 25c per litre increase in the levy on petrol and diesel was unfair to them as they were already struggling.

"We are already struggling with food prices with the small money we get from piece jobs, how are we going to survive if they keep on increasing the petrol price," said Leuwen Ndlovu from Mabopane, Pretoria.

However, Ndlovu welcomed the increase in the old age grant from R1 010 to R1 080 and more money allocated to health and education.

"It [grant] will make a huge difference because the pensioners are relying on the grant to feed their grandchildren and their unemployed children. We are hoping to see an improvement in the health and education system and no more excuses for poor services; they should work," Ndlovu said.

Alfred Shabangu from Dumbe in KwaZulu-Natal said he was happy with the additional R3 billion allocated to broaden access for people infected with TB and women and children with CD 4 counts lower than 350.

"Most people are sick and with more money being allocated for them to have access to treatment, more lives would be saved.

"However, I'm not happy with the petrol hike. Taxi fares and food will increase while our salaries stay the same. This is totally unfair," Shabangu said.

Gordhan on Thursday told Talk Radio 702 that the decision to increase fuel levies was a result of other matters that had to be taken into consideration such as the funding of Transnet's Gauteng-Durban fuel pipeline.

"So it's regrettable but there are very good and sound reasons. We've had to think about these things carefully and we acted on them," he said.

Meanwhile, Selby Motaung from Atteridgeville, Pretoria, welcomed the R1.2 billion allocated to the Department of Rural Development and Land Affairs for the Comprehensive Rural Development Strategy to set up a new grant to support on-site water and sanitation infrastructure as part of the rural housing programme.

"People in rural areas have been neglected for far too long and we are happy that government is prioritising rural development," Motaung said.

He said he was also happy about the R52 billion allocated to rolling out various Expanded Public Works projects (EPWP) over the next three years.

Gordhan said an additional R2.5 billion will be used to support labour intensive projects in the social, non-governmental and environmental sectors, largely targeted at rural areas.

The second phase of the EPWP aims to create 4.5 million short-term job opportunities, Gordhan said.

"I'm hoping that I will be among people who will benefit from the EPWP since I'm currently unemployed," Motaung said.