It is clear from this year’s Budget that Government has no idea how to fix the many challenges the country is facing, whether it is leadership issues, the economy or crime and corruption.  

During the recent Budget 2024 speech, the Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana, announced cabinet’s decision to tap into R150 billion of surplus "paper profits" from the Gold and Foreign Exchange Contingency Reserve Account (GFECRA). This may offer a temporary reprieve, but it underlines a worrying trend: a finance minister resorting to desperate measures to stop the country’s finances from bleeding dry. 

Like in previous years, the budget attempts to balance the books without addressing the fundamental issue of fostering economic growth and fixing leadership deficiencies and systemic failures.

Rather than making essential cuts to expenditure, nothing is done about bloated ministries and excessive spending. In an attempt to calm citizens about crime and corruption, the amount of police recruits is to be increased. But no matter how many people you throw at the problem, it won’t be solved until there is a change in leadership.  

Fixing the economy won’t happen by cutting work opportunity programmes and handing half of that money to political parties.

Despite persistent calls for downsizing, bloated ministries and inefficient departments will remain.  The promises of National Treasury's spending reviews are yet to materialize into tangible budgetary changes. These actions reflect a government prone to rhetoric but inept in executing its plans. 

While there were some positives in the Budget, like no new bailouts for entities like Eskom, Transnet, SAA, Denel and others, the cost of holding onto power is evident in this year’s Budget. 

Read OUTA’s full analysis here.