I’m a man on a mission/ Straight ahead, less talk, more action/ with no distractions
THE president outlined his priorities for the year ahead in his State of the Nation Address (Sona), but it is now up to Finance Minister Tito Mboweni to tell us how to achieve this.
Make no mistake, we are suffering from the so-called “wasted years”, and the need to spend tens of billions of rand to sort out state-owned entities such as Eskom and SAA.
Already the signs are there that to find the money needed to put public finances on track, we can expect austerity measures. These will include being taxed more, with the most drastic form a possible VAT increase; decreasing the public service wage bill; and cutting other government costs.
We have to look ahead to creating a stronger economy and the role of entrepreneurship, small business and the social economy in job creation, as well as financing pro-poor policies such as land reform, housing, and the National Health Insurance.
When it comes to day-to-day life, we need to embrace innovative responses to the energy crisis, with some promising developments announced in the Sona, which will hopefully be fleshed out by Mboweni.
A question we can ask on the day of the Budget is how willing ordinary South Africans are to endure the pain for longer, if they are given clear signs of bold long-term sustainable solutions?
They will surely be affected by the response of trade unions and political parties in this regard.
On his Twitter account this week, Mboweni posted a picture of himself in a spacesuit titled: “Man on a Mission”.
In the Van Halen song of that name, a line goes: I’m a man on a mission/ Straight ahead, less talk, more action/ with no distractions
Let’s hope that is what is playing in Mboweni’s mind tomorrow, as he puts us on a path to a brighter future.