Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. Photo: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - Political parties in Parliament are preparing for a tough Budget today with Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni expected to address major issues affecting the country.

The DA, IFP and Cope on Tuesday said Mboweni will have to address a lot of questions on fiscal consolidation, the Budget deficit, the crisis in state-owned entities and fighting corruption.

They said they were aware the government did not have much room to manoeuvre, but there were critical issues and projects that needed to be addressed.

DA MP and spokesperson on finance Alf Lees said there was ballooning debt, debt-laden SOEs, poor economic growth and unemployment.

Lees said there were key questions the party needed answers to. The country would not get out of the woods unless Mboweni dealt with jobs and the debt of SOEs.

“A credible plan to boost economic growth by an average of at least 3% will need to be presented. However, to boost economic growth and create jobs requires a fundamental change in economic policy in South Africa. That is why South Africa needs a policy shock to boost economic growth and create jobs,” said Lees.

The IFP also said it was concerned about low growth in the economy, unemployment and the escalating debt.

The debt was now sitting close to 60% of the Gross Domestic Product, but National Treasury said it would start stabilising soon.

Cope spokesperson Dennis Bloem said they were concerned about many issues affecting the country.

“We don’t expect any miracles to come out of the Budget. We know the country is in a serious economic and financial crisis.

“However, we want Mboweni to explain to the country how the government is going to address the Eskom crisis and load shedding,” said Bloem.

Cope also wants Mboweni to deal with the funding of students following the protests across universities.

Cosatu has said it wants the government to deal with the question of unbundling Eskom. This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in his State of the Nation Address that Eskom would be split into three units responsible for generation, distribution and transmission.

Cosatu yesterday met Ramaphosa and members of his Cabinet task team probing the Eskom crisis.

The trade union federation said it opposed the unbundling of the power utility and any job losses.

Today will be Mboweni’s maiden Budget speech and parties said the billions spent on SOEs to bail them out must come to an end.

They want a strong plan to boost jobs and grow the economy.

Political Bureau