Cope president Mosiuoa Lekota Picture: Gareth Smit

Parliament - Congress of the People (Cope) leader, Mosiuoa Lekota, on Wednesday said Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba, was taking good money and throwing it in a hole, after the minister tabled the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) in Parliament.

"How do you take good money and throw it in a hole," Lekota said.

Lekota made it clear that the maiden budget delivered by Gigaba was different.

"The fact that he announces that he is going to add more money to the money that we are losing through [state owned enterprises (SOEs) South African Airways] SAA and Eskom just doesn't give anybody hope," he said.

Lekota described Gigaba's announcement on the nuclear project as the "worst thing".

"The worst thing is that he announces that we will go on with the nuclear project at affordable rate," Lekota said. 

"That nuclear project means a completely new R1 trillion burden of money, where are we going to get that money?"

In a statement, Cope said they were not surprised about the "catastrophe" President Jacob Zuma's administration had been to the country.

"It is unfortunate that the poor do not have the prospect of ever getting out of poverty, especially when the nuclear deal has made a come back, a complete irresponsible move by the Zuma administration," the party said.

The party said Gigaba basically announced to South Africa that the country had no money and this was due to financial mismanagement.

"Cope foresees dire straights, going forward, the Rand has proved time and again that policy, and political uncertainty are leading South Africa down junk status when rating agencies make their December findings." 

The party called upon South Africans to reject the nuclear programme as the country's sovereign debt "can no longer afford to be getting the country into deeper debt."

"South Africa cannot afford the nuclear deal programme, it must be rejected."