Council of churches urges pro-poor budget

2010-02-17 11:18

THE SA Council of Churches (SACC) urged Finance Minister Pravin

Gordhan to put the poor at the centre of his Budget speech, to be delivered


“The ‘jobs bloodbath’ and the growing gap between the rich and the

poor continue to be the main economic challenges facing this country.

“The SACC is looking forward to a budget that will speak to the

harsh economic realities experienced by the poor in South Africa,” a council

statement read.

The SACC said the inability to contain electricity hikes, coupled

with leadership problems in many of the government’s parastatals, might deal the

last blow to the poorest of the poor.

President Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation address contained many

positive commitments – like extending the child support grant to children

between 15 and 18, improving healthcare and commitments to affordable housing

plans, it said.

But, it lacked a “coherent vision of the society we wish to


Strong leadership and political will was needed for the plans to be


The council accepted Zuma’s apology regarding the birth of his

daughter last year with a woman he was not married to, although it was concerned

that it undermined the institution of the family.

The SACC wanted an undertaking from him that it would not happen

again, but said it would continue to pray for him.

“We urge the president to round off his heartfelt and most welcome

apology with a commitment to do everything within his powers, with God’s help,

to exclude this kind of behaviour in the future.”

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