Hon House Chair, over the past 26 years, our people have continued to firmly place their confidence and trust in the hands of the ANC, a national liberation movement with an unblemished record of struggle dedicated towards fundamentally altering the circumstances under which our people live, the majority of whom are poor, black and women.
This debate occurs at a critical moment of history, when the economy of this country, akin to many global economies is facing headwinds. Once more, the movement of the people has been tasked by our people through an electoral mandate, to do what the course of struggle would have inevitably imposed on the ANC, to usher a phase which must ultimately culminate in the transfer of economic power to the majority of the South African people.
From it s very inception, the ANC has known better not to take the overwhelming confidence and unwavering support of our people for granted. Even when there are weaknesses of leadership in the organisation and our public institutions, the ANC would have been the first to admit that some amongst us have veered off course, and this is because we have a deeper appreciation of the enormity of the responsibility of leading this country. [Applause.] The ANC welcomes the broad thrust of the 2020 fiscal framework and revenue proposals presented by the Minister of Finance. We understand that these proposals were made under unfavourable economic conditions. Despite these challenges, the ANC is encouraged by the forward looking and innovative approach adopted by the Minister and his National Treasury team. The 2020 budget is consistent with the efforts of the ANC government to rid our country of the cancer of corruption and wastage in the state.
In order to overcome multiple challenges we face, South Africans across class lines must unite around a social compact to renew and rebuild our economy. The Minister of Finance made a strong and substantiated argument that, even in these tough times, government spending in social services, a sector which protects the most vulnerable in our society, continues to increase in the medium-term. This must be welcomed by all of us. [Applause.]
The Minister also made a fundamental observation, that if we do not address the issue of efficiency and quality of expenditure, government will not realise the outcomes we desire regardless of how much money is allocated. The reality is that low growth and rising unemployment means that South Africa's economic trajectory is unsustainable. The two phenomena are mutually reinforcing.
The ANC calls on government to implement growth measures that promote economic transformation, support labour-intensive growth, and create a globally competitive economy. In this regard, the ANC supports government's plan to focus on the five broad growth interventions. These are the following:
Modernising network industries at the centre of which is fixing Eskom so that it delivers reliable electricity at reason able prices, fixing public transport so that workers and students are able to travel safely and efficiently, ensuring that water services are modernised and accessible, and increasing fixed broadband penetration to lower the costs of communication.
Secondly, lowering barriers to entry and addressing distorted patterns of ownership through increased competition and small business growth. Thirdly, prioritising labour-intensive growth in sectors such as agriculture and services, including tourism. Fourthly, implementing well-coordinated industrial and trade policy, working together with African state, in the African Continental Free Trade Area; and fifthly, promoting export competitiveness.
While we welcome the fiscal framework and revenue proposals broadly, we are gravely concerned with the rising levels of unemployment in our country. The racial and gender, as well as the rural and urban characteristics of unemployment, poverty and inequality are not exclusively South African phenomena. However, as a consequence of the apartheid and colonial past which contributed to the high levels of inequality, our country is severely impacted by this phenomenon.
During the apartheid era, the youth of our country bore the brunt of apartheid brutality more than any population cohort. Today, 26 years later, following the advent of democracy, the youth of this country bear the brunt of poverty, inequality and unemployment more than any population cohort. Hon members, President Ramaphosa has correctly characterised youth unemployment as a shame on our conscience, and it is indeed a shame on all of us. Accordingly, the reduction of unemployment levels must become a preoccupation of this Sixth Administration. President O R Tambo profoundly reminded us that, "the children of any nation are its future. A country, a movement, a person that does not value its youth and children does not deserve its future." [Applause.]
We owe it to the current generation of young people and those who perished in struggle, to ensure that young people occupy their rightful place as active participants in the economy. We therefore fully support the presidential youth employment intervention. Our people have welcomed the announcement in the budget speech that there would be no increase in taxes so as not to slow down the already sluggish economy. National Treasury argues that substantial tax increases may obstruct short-term recovery.
Over the past five years, government has increased rates of personal income tax, capital gains tax and value-added tax, VAT, while raising the fuel levy and excise duties on alcohol and tobacco. Tax revenue is projected to grow by 4,9%. Our People have also welcomed the R14 billion given to individual taxpayers and the R2 billion through the adjustment of tax brackets by more than the inflation rate. The President's call to South Africans to forge compacts in which business, organised labour and civil society actively participate in the social and economic renewal of our country has been heeded by some of the progressive and farsighted organisations like Congress of SA Trade Unions, Cosatu, which has made proposals, with clear conditions, about supporting the re vitalisation and restructuring of state-owned enterprises, SOEs.
True to their character, those with vested interests in seeing these state- owned enterprises destroyed so that they could be sold off to the highest bidder, have come out against Cosatu's proposals while also seeking to scare workers against acting in their own self-interest. In order for social compacts to be sustainable, we need to build a state that is developmental, ethical and capable.
We need a state that can be trusted by all the social partners so that it cannot be captured by private interests and repurposed for the benefit of the few. The ANC supports this framework. I thank you. [Applause.]