Carol Paton Editor at Large

As the Treasury scrambles to find R10.5bn to restart SAA, jitters are growing in trade union and political circles that the biggest cuts will be to pro-poor spending on public employment programmes and the passenger rail system.

The Treasury, which is guided by cabinet’s ministers’ committee on the budget, was already deep into work on the adjustment budget — to be tabled in a month’s time — when it received the instruction last week to prioritise the funding for SAA. The cabinet has agreed that the R10.5bn must be raised in "a fiscally neutral way" and cannot add to the overall debt burden.

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