South Africa

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is delivering his maiden budget speech from 14:00.

Mboweni has his work cut out for him in what many analysts are calling one of the hardest budget speeches, if not the most difficult, that any of our finance ministers have ever had to deliver.

In his first speech in the position, the one-time reserve bank governor will need to somehow reassure investors about state power utility Eskom without alienating union allies ahead of national elections.

He is under pressure to bail out Eskom – along with its $30 billion mountain of debt — which is at the centre of South Africa’s mounting economic troubles.

Mboweni will deliver his maiden budget to parliament in Cape Town at 2pm.

Analysts have warned of tensions that may emerge should the restructuring of Eskom lead to job losses.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced this month that the utility would be divided into three, but unions have rejected the idea, saying it would lead to job cuts.

Over the past few weeks, load shedding has returned as Eskom has failed to meet demand.

The scale of the power outages, unseen in more than a decade, has rocked the continent’s most industrialised nation, plunging businesses, homes, and traffic lights into darkness.

But the ruling African National Congress (ANC) has been warned by its coalition partner, the COSATU trade union federation, that sackings could damage their alliance ahead of national elections due on May 8.



Sources – George Herald/ AFP


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