25 August 2016. Herman Mashaba the first DA elected mayor in Johannesburg, since the dawn of democracy, sits down with the Sunday Times in an exclusive interview at his new office in Braamfontein.Picture: Moeletsi Mabe/The Times

“There cannot be a bailout for political parties while South Africans are struggling to stay afloat.”

These are the words of ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba, who denounced an alleged increase in taxpayer funding for political parties ahead of the budget speech.

Finance minister Tito Mboweni is set to deliver his budget speech on Wednesday.

The much-anticipated speech will be delivered amid SA’s growing economic crisis since the Covid-19 pandemic took over the country more than 11 months ago.

According to Mashaba, the speech will allegedly contain a massive increase in taxpayer funding for political parties. He said such a decision should not be considered during this time of crisis.

“Just last month, President Ramaphosa admitted that ‘we do not have the money’ to help families hit by Covid-19. How then can it be acceptable that political parties will receive a massive bailout?” Mashaba asked.

Mashaba said the alleged political bailout should be rejected by all parties.

“ActionSA will call upon all political parties in the National Assembly to either reject this budget inclusion, or refuse the funding arising from it. We will not be a part of the hypocrisy of fleecing South Africans to fund our campaign, while calling for government to cut unnecessary expenditure,” he said.

“The idea that South Africans may be hit with tax increases which are levied, in part, to fund the financial woes of SA’s political parties would be criminal if it takes place during the budget on Wednesday,” he said.

Mashaba called for political parties to choose “people over politics”.

“You cannot, with one corner of your mouth, call for the government to cut wasteful expenditure, while your hand is out, accepting money from the government for your political campaigns.”