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WSG, Nedlac work on understanding Budget Speech

- Kemantha Govender

A Nedlac team worked with WSG to understand the Budget speech better.

Professor Pundy Pillay ran a workshop with the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) community constituency to teach fundamental economic concepts in order to understand the budget speech delivered by then Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba.

The Nedlac Community Constituency is one of the social partners in the platform of social dialogue in South Africa. The Community Constituency is the representative voice of organised civil society and is composed of the following sectoral umbrella bodies including the South African Youth Council, Women's National Coalition, Disabled People of South Africa, South African National Civic Organisation, South African National Apex Cooperatives Organisation and the Financial Sector Coalition Campaign.

The team chatted to WSG about their experience.

How did the team feel about participating in this forum?

After attending, the Budget Capacity Building session with Professor Pillay, we felt very confident and empowered by the knowledge that was exchanged. The team felt better capacitated to engage with the Minister of Finance and other social partners on the 2018/19 National Budget.

Is it a very proactive approach by Nedlac to do this – what brought this on?

During our January 2018 Management Committee Meeting, we took a decision to build strategic partnerships with academic institutions. This was based on the acknowledgement of the fact that these institutions are sitting with the wealth of knowledge, skills and expertise on various issues that serve Nedlac's agenda.

We firmly believe that other social partners and stakeholders must engage us on the strength of our ideas. So, for this to happen, we always strive to provide evidence-based and practical solutions in our negotiations.

What were some of the most valuable lessons you took away from the session?

The session was intended to achieve two objectives. Firstly, it was a capacity-building session on understanding the concepts, processes and institutions involved in the budgeting process.

Secondly, it was about undertaking a comprehensive analysis of the 2018/19 National Budget. We emerged out of the session with a better understanding of what is a budget and how it can be better leveraged as an instrument to champion and give meaning to development.

We emerged with better understanding and application of the technical concepts and processes of the budget. We felt confident, better capacitated and empowered. Prof Pillay is an outstanding teacher and practitioner.

Did you have an opportunity to engage with the Minister?

We did engage with Minister Gigaba, the Deputy Minister of Finance, the Director General of the National Treasury, and other senior officials together with other Nedlac social partners such as organised labour movement and business with a better understanding and practical application of the concepts involved.

We also received a media request to do a detailed interview with SABC News Channel 404. We participated in the budget consultative processes of the National Parliament.