Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, delivers his budget speech on 20 February. Photo: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
JOHANNESBURG -  Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is under pressure from parties in Parliament to strike a balancing act in his Budget on Wednesday amidst skyrocketing debt, high unemployment rate and struggling State-Owned Entities.

Parties have demanded that Mboweni prioritise spending in the budget and not throw money into a bottomless pit of the SOEs.

Mboweni will be delivering his first full Budget on Wednesday after his appointment to the position exactly a year ago.

In his Medium Term Budget Policy Statement in October, Mboweni signalled that South Africa had reached a cross-road and it had to start prioritising expenditure.

The government has in the past few years been pursuing fiscal consolidation.

DA MP and its spokesperson on finance Alf Lees said on Tuesday Mboweni should address the escalating unemployment rate in the country. More than 9 million people are unemployed.

Lees also said for the economy to create sustainable jobs it will have to grow above 3% a year. The economy is projected to grow at about 1.3% this year. 

“The minister should announce a package of structural reforms designed to boost investor confidence, and consumer confidence, and therefore private sector investment,” said Lees.

The IFP also said the numbers were not looking good in the Budget.

IFP spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said the country was in the throes of the high unemployment rate, the skyrocketing public debt and low growth projections.

He said the situation was so bad this may open the door to the International Monetary Fund.

He said the debt levels have reached unprecedented proportions. 

Hlengwa said it was bad that the debt service costs were now sitting at R180 billion a year. 

Cosatu also said on Tuesday it met with President Cyril Ramaphosa and his panel on Eskom on Monday.

Ramaphosa appointed the panel, chaired by Deputy President David Mabuza, and several Ministers, to fix the ailing power utility.

Cosatu said in a statement they have made it clear to Ramaphosa and his panel they will not allow job losses in the unbundling of Eskom.