Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty CEO Yael Geffen says this year’s budget has offered some much-needed relief to citizens, but all that could be undone if Eskom doesn’t come to the government’s bailout party.
“Home owners and the property industry as a whole welcomes the announcements that tax brackets for transfer-free property transactions is increasing by 10% to R1.1 million. More good news is no rise in income tax or fuel levies.
“Possibly the best news for business and home owners, though, is the massive tax rebate scheme for investment in sustainable energy infrastructure.
“Commercial enterprises being offered a rebate of 125% of the cost of wind, solar, hydropower and biomass projects in the first year – with no limits on how much can be claimed, nor how big the project is – will be a huge incentive to get off the grid and make businesses themselves more sustainable in the long term.
“The 25% rebate being offered to homeowners for investment in solar energy is equally good news.”
“With repo rate increases over the past year leaving South Africans bleeding, we needed some relief in the budget to prevent a catastrophe in the private sector.
“But that relief must be weighed against the biggest threat that still looms over the economy, which is a stable power supply.”
Geffen says a government bailout of Eskom was inevitable in this year’s budget, but given the SEO’s entrenched culture of corruption and mismanagement the Treasury cannot be permitted to give R184 billion of taxpayer money directly to Eskom to service debt.
“That money belongs to the people of South Africa, and we have the right to demand that the government acts in a fiscally responsible manner.
“If the Finance Minister wants South Africans to assume R254 billion of Eskom’s debt, then the government should be responsible for ensuring that the money is spent responsibly.
“Our economy cannot sustain another 207 days of loadshedding this year. It’s make or break time for Eskom and the government needs to hold Eskom and itself accountable to the citizens of South Africa.”