Jean-Jacques Cornish

Budget presents triple whammy to South African consumers

South Africa’s 21st democratic Budget’s brought bad news for consumers facing a triple whammy of hiked taxes, electricity and fuel prices.

However the finance minister promises government will do what it can to save money.

South Africans face their first tax increase in two decades because the country’s swimming in debt

The nation faces its biggest budget deficit since the ANC came to power.

As its contribution, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene says government will cut the spending ceiling by one point five billion euros.

He predicts GDP growth over the next year will be only two percent – less than a third of what the country needs to create jobs and grow the economy.

South Africans had braced for higher taxes. The increase of one percent across all brackets was less than many had expected.

Nevertheless economist Okkie Kellerman says the impact will be on those who can least afford it.

The crisis in electricty supply is really hurting the economy.

Nene says some of the tariff increases are only temporary

Education, health, crime fighting and social grants get the biggest slice of the Budget in a country where 16 million people depend on government handouts for survival.

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.