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Malema’s 50% wage hike an empty promise?

<img src="julius malema.jpg" alt="Julius Malema" width="150" height="100">

Julius Malema

Malema offered a characteristically fiery manifesto for the coming elections to a packed stadium Tembisa on Saturday. Supporters called for “real freedom” for the black majority. The EFF have big plans and even bigger promises, should they win the elections and come into power.

If you promise a man or woman more money every month, you touch his pocket and his heart simultaneously. That way Malema is hoping to buy the Economic Freedom Fighters enough votes to win the 2014 South African election.

Besides repeating his demands for the confiscation of farms from white owners and the nationalization of mines, Julius Malema promised a 50% wage hike to all teachers, nurses, police officers and other public servants.

Further promises were for pensions of R2 600 a month and disability grants of R2 400 a month. A minimum wage for all sectors will be instituted and domestic workers will earn a minimum of R4 500 per month. All this will happen if the EFF becomes the leading party. Malema condemned what he called the “slave wages” of ordinary blacks. He promised to produce more place in universities and give priority to the hiring of blacks.

How will the EFF  wage hike be funded?

Perhaps he doesn’t expect to win and therefor wont have to do the math to make figures in the budget balance. Perhaps he truly expects to win as he declared the funds to come from a proposed increase in taxes on the private sector, which will increase the government budget from R1 trillion to R2 trillion by 2017. Only a short 3 years from now.

Reports show that even if Malema did win, keeping these promises would be very difficult. More than 16 million people receive social grants, which is a handout of billions every year.

Besides the proposed tax increases, Malema will also make some cuts. Parliament will be moved to Pretoria which should decrease the Presidency budget by 60%. Funding for first ladies will be cancelled. This amount has risen to about R16m under President Zuma’s occupation. Over and above, Malema also called for special trials and rulings of 20 years’ imprisonment to deal with corruption cases.

Will this be enough to fund the EFF wage hike? Julius Malema believes so, unless he has more up his sleeve.


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