Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is preparing to table one of his toughest budgets this week and South Africans will be waiting to hear what the government plans to further cushion the COVID-19 blow in an already battered economy.
South Africa, now on level three, has one of the longest lockdowns in the world and the impact has been devastating, with thousands of people losing their jobs as businesses crumble under financial pressure.
In February this year, Mboweni tabled a R1.95 trillion budget but COVID-19 threw a spanner in the works and government’s strategy had to be revised.
The response to the coronavirus, a big part of which has been the lockdown, meant that funds were reallocated.
In April, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a R500 billion COVID-19 relief package for the country, meant to assist the unemployed, businesses and others.
But that money has to come from somewhere and it’s Mboweni’s task to make those numbers add up.
Economist Xhanti Payi said that this week’s budget may be double of what was predicted at the beginning of the year.
“That tells you something about how we should think about increases and salaries for example, and the adjustments, in terms of that and in terms of understanding.”
Mboweni will deliver his emergency budget on Wednesday afternoon.