For the first time in 25 years South Africa increases Value-Added Tax


"The golf event affords President Ramaphosa an opportunity to emphasise the role of business in economic development and to appreciate the positive impact of corporate social investment on poverty alleviation and the transformation of South African society", the presidency statement read.

New President Cyril Ramaphosa should take action within 14 days against Brown, whose department oversees enterprises including Eskom, said Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

"This is a tough, but hopeful budget", Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said, acknowledging the reality in his budget speech to parliament on Wednesday.

The new rate is the first hike since the end of white-minority rule in 1994.

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According to Gigaba, lower-income households will not suffer too greatly from the rise in Value-Added Tax, due to the zero-rating food items - such as maize and beans.

He said the issue of corruption is on "our radar screen". "If you live on an extremely tight budget and have to count every rand you have, it will affect what you can buy".

And the Treasury saw GDP growth at 1.5 percent this year, up from an estimated one percent last year, helped by a recovery in agriculture and improved investor sentiment. The government nudged its economic-growth forecast higher, but the expansion may not keep pace with a growing population, meaning the average South African is getting poorer.

The government will have to raise at least 30 billion rand ($2.6 billion) from taxes to finance, among other things, free university education for students from low income families - a policy abruptly announced by Zuma on the eve of his departure from the ANC presidency a year ago.

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Under intense pressure to remove a number of ministers closely allied with Zuma and blamed for aiding state corruption, Ramaphosa told lawmakers on Tuesday that he will announce a new cabinet at an "appropriate" time.

Gigaba, who is widely seen as a Zuma loyalist, jokingly asked Ramaphosa "how much time do I have, sir?" as he started to deliver his speech.

Minister Gigaba "has this tainted history and the problem with him delivering the budget is that people know that he has been involved so intimately with the state capture project" and "cannot signal to global markets a credible turnaround", said Georg.

According to Nedbank analysts, despite the appearance of a well-received state of the nation address by the markets, there is still a lot to be done in order to rescue the local economy. "We will not allow smash and grab interventions", Ramaphosa said.

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The government is battling to return public finances to a sustainable path and stave off another credit-rating downgrade, following years of stagnant growth and policy missteps that left a gaping hole in the budget.