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Opposition Parties React To Budget Speech

Opposition parties reacted to the medium-term budget policy statement as presented by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni on Wednesday.

The minister unpacked the current situation and said the economy is expected to contract by 7.8 percent this year, and the 2021 outlook is more uncertain. Job losses have been particularly severe.

Mboweni said rehabilitating public finance and recovering from the pandemic is the challenge facing the country. 

The minister said the revised fiscal framework is anticipated to stabilize the debt to GDP ratio by 95 percent within the next five years.

However parties reacted negatively to the announcement that SAA would be receiving additional monies to facilitate its restructuring and the increase in national debt.

The DA’s Geordin Hill-Lewis said the money given to SAA is unacceptable and morally indefensible as they said the funds will be sourced from cuts to basic services like the police service, healthcare and education.

ACDP MP Steven Swart said the party is concerned with the “lack of stewardship” over the management of the national debt which he said generations would be paying for.

Swart said more powers should be allocated to the Asset Forfeiture Unit to recover misappropriated funds and assist in balancing the books.

The leader of the Freedom Front Plus,Pieter Groenewald, said some of the allocations don’t make sense.

IFP MP Inkosi Mzamo Buthelezi said they are encouraged by the investment in the African Bank but raised concerns about the SAA bailout and the lack of detail on other state-owned enterprises.

ANC Chief Whip Pemmy Majodina said the monies to be paid to SAA is not a bailout but funds allocated to complete the restructuring process at the airline.

Majodina said investment in infrastructure will be key to empowering people and improving the country’s economic situation.