Tito Mboweni with his Aloe Ferox plant. Photo: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA).

CAPE TOWN - Finance Minister Tito Mboweni on Wednesday returned to the podium with an Aloe Ferox plant when delivering his Medium Term Budget Policy Statement in Parliament on Wednesday. 

The minister used the Aloe Ferox as a metaphor for the economy after winter and symbolises the country surviving many "years of famine", many years of weak growth and could also reference many years of state capture.

He first introduced the plant at his previous Budget speech in February, stating that he drew inspiration from his part-time job as a farmer. 

This plant was used to demonstrate that South Africa needed to plant seeds again, so that the economy could once more have plenty.

In his opening remarks, he said, "Madam Speaker on Budget day 2019, I brought a resilient Aloe Ferox plant to the house...This little aloe is emerging from a long winter. During that winter the ground became hard, the leaves fell from the trees and the air was bitterly cold."

"We toiled, hoping for better days. Our people became poorer and some lost their jobs. Madam Speaker, here we stand at the end of winter. The cupboards are almost bare. We have been shuffling about in old and comfortable brown shoes. Our expenditure continues to exceed our revenue. Our national debt is increasing at an unsustainable pace. The economy is not performing well. In these difficult times we have turned against each other."

What is an Aloe Ferox Plant?

The plant is an indigenous aloe that is drought resistant and often used for its medicinal properties. It’s found across South Africa’s coastal regions, seen with its flame coloured flowers in the winter months and can grow up to 3m high.

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