Minister of Public Service and Administration Noxolo Kiviet has denied that the proposed cost-cutting measures by the National Treasury would affect critical departments and functions of the State.
The National Treasury wants to cut the budgets of departments in the national and provincial spheres in a bid to rein in spending.
Kiviet, who was answering questions in parliament on Wednesday, said the intention was not to target key programmes.
"Let me indicate once again: There will be no cost-cutting measures that would hamper the kinds of programmes that are primary in our mandate, and youth employment is primary in our mandate. Therefore, wherever we have to compromise if there has to be cost-cutting, it would be on programmes that are nice to have programmes because there would be programmes that are must-have kind of programmes, and youth development, youth employment are must-have programmes," said Kiviet.
The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) have both said they will oppose any cost-cutting measures by government.
Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana was expected to outline areas where government will reduce spending when he delivers his mini-budget in November.
Kiviet also defended the recent wage agreement between unions and government.
She said during the 2023/24 financial year, the government will fork out R37.4 billion as part of the wage agreement.
But the figure will be lower during the 2024/25 financial year because of the Consumer Price Index, which is projected to be 4.5%.
Kiviet said they will pay R25 billion as part of the wage agreement during the next financial year.
She said the government will not renege on the wage agreement, as it was signed with the unions.
She would not comment on whether the National Treasury will increase Value Added Tax (VAT) by 2%, as has been reported, to meet funding demands.
Kiviet said she would not say whether the R37.4 billion was heavy for government.