Mabuza said the delivery of social and other services, and investing in state owned enterprises such as South African Airways which are crucial drivers for development “should not be seen as mutually exclusive”.
JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s government will do all it can to minimise any adverse impact that the re-prioritisation of budget allocations to free up R10.5 billion towards national carrier SAA’s business rescue might have on other services, Deputy President David Mabuza has said.
The Presidency on Friday sent out a written copy of Mabuza’s oral response in Parliament the previous day to a question from Democratic Alliance legislator Natasha Mazzone on what steps the government would take to mitigate the negative effects of the budget cuts on social and other essential services.
“When Cabinet approved the support of 10.5 billion rands (US$692 million) allocation to SAA, we did appreciate the state of our finances,” Mabuza said, adding that the delivery of social and other services, and investing in the country’s state owned enterprises such as South African Airways as crucial drivers for development “should not be seen as mutually exclusive”.
“In the contrary, funding of SAA, should be understood in line with preserving strategic and catalytic state instruments for transformation, growth, development, service delivery and employment creation,” he added.
Government departments, the deputy president said, would have to adjust spending priorities and programmes to take into account the revised baseline allocations over the next three years tabled in Parliament last month by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni in his mid term budget policy statement.
“In doing so, we will minimise any adverse impact that the reprioritisation may have on the delivery of social and other services,” Mabuza said.
“Even as we reprioritised the budget, the consolidated expenditure over the next three years shows that there has been no negative decrease on education, health, community development and social development.”
He said South Africa should admit the reality of its shrinking resources that put a strain on national finances, a situation worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic which grounded all by essential services for months when the government enforced a hard lockdown to try and contain the spread of the virus.
“That is why in pursuit of our developmental objectives, we should accept that certain hard trade-offs will have to be made,” Mabuza said.