1 November 2023
Equal Education and Equal Education Law Centre joint statement: National Treasury’s budget cuts will further deepen the #EducationBlackout threatening the future of the country’s learners
“We can’t afford budget cuts because we are not getting the school services. So if there will be a budget cut on education, I think it will be worse.” – Equal Education learner member
Today, 1 November 2023, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana tabled his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS), setting out changes to the 2023/24 main budget and government’s spending priorities for the next three years. The #MTBPS2023 follows National Treasury’s decision to implement cost-containment measures—aggressive budget cuts to social spending—to reduce spending across national and provincial government departments to repay government debt. These budget cuts are deeply concerning for the delivery of crucial social services, including basic education. The budget is a transformation tool, and the current spending choices show that government is not prioritising human rights, and particularly the rights of learners.
The social implications of Treasury’s planned austerity measures will be dire, particularly for a sector currently battling a growing #EducationBlackout that requires substantial spending to address, not less. National Treasury’s decision will likely plunge the sector into further darkness. What this means for education service delivery (infrastructure and quality teaching) is that the growing inequalities in the system, particularly between under-resourced and wealthy schools, will worsen. Equal Education (EE) and the Equal Education Law Centre (EELC) strongly oppose these austerity measures disguised as fiscal responsibility and call for National Treasury to reverse cuts to the basic education budget, particularly on school infrastructure.
Read our full statement here.