Highlights – MTBPS

Now this is a bombeshell that will haunt generations to come. Public debt is expected to increase from R5.24-trillion in 2023/24 to R6.52-trillion in 2026/27.The Finance Minister looks unusually happy and relieved. Not a happy moment for the budget he is about to unveil.Godongwana says economic outlook remains weak. SA’s economic growth outlook for 2023 is 0.8%. That is barely any growth. Not enough to create new jobs, boost investments and confidence!

The minister refers to the “enormously positive transformation” in the power sector which he notes includes the lifting of restrictions on self-generation. Those restrictions could have been lifted far sooner and the power situation would have been better than it is if the government had of acted with a sense of urgency.

Mr Austerity cracks the whip – Eskom to be charged interest on government loans, and Transnet has to show improvements before it can get any money.

Social relief of distress grant (R350/month grant) has been extended for another year. This is quite a political hot potato. Imagine if it was withdrawn before the general election.

Godongwana finds an extra R24 billion for wage increases of civil servants. AND another R74 billion will be added to the public service salary bill over the following two years. Not sure what they works out to, but the notion of “austerity” for the public service is clearly not part of his vision.

Godongwana says 28 of 68 applications have been approved for municipalities to get debt relief for outstanding Eskom debt. 

All 67 applications amount to 97% of the R56.8bn debt councils owe Eskom