Home Opinion and Features Tiime to take responsibility

Tiime to take responsibility

100
SHARE

The plans by Mboweni should not be rejected, but ventilated, so we reach a common ground where our economy grows and thrives again.

Picture: Reuters/Sumaya Hisham

YESTERDAY we wrapped up the 10th month of 2019 and an undoubtedly tough week following grim revelations about our dire unemployment rate and exorbitant public debt after Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s Medium-Term Budget presentation in Parliament on Wednesday.

On this first day of November, and with only one month left before the year ends, it’s incumbent on us that we begin reflecting on the year.

It’s important that we concede that as a country we’re under immense pressure, but also know that there are solutions for some of the turmoil.

It’s also vital that we remember we can turn a new leaf as a country in 2020.

On researching matters of debt, one’s come to learn that South Africa is not the only African country in a crisis.

Online Portal Africa Quartz reported in April that “Africa’s Eurobond debt passed the $100billion milestone”. It highlighted that Egypt, Ghana and Benin were already at $7.6bn and that South Africa, Kenya, Angola, Egypt and Nigeria would surely follow.

Last year, Greece found itself adopting strict austerity measures as it received a bailout to assist its severely ailing economy, and has since been placed under a close eye by international financial authorities.

Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Cyprus have also over time received assistance and continue to be monitored.

In the case of South Africa, we should not be drowning in a pool of debt. Instead, we should have our life jackets on and keep afloat while we figure out how to manoeuvre through the severe waters.

Yesterday, in his post-budget briefing, Mboweni re-emphasised that municipalities, provincial, national government and citizens had to pay what they owed Eskom. His tag line was: “You must pay for what you use.”

There could be no greater truth than that.

We, as citizens, need to start taking responsibility for our actions. But equally, government must take steps to ensure our people and municipalities pay for affordable electricity.

Much as an individual drowning in debt goes to counselling, we need more effective austerity measures. Some of the proposals include placing debt ceilings on government expenditure.

The plans by Mboweni should not be rejected, but ventilated, so we reach a common ground where our economy grows and thrives again.