AYABONGA CAWE: There are tragedies in the stories behind budget numbers
The poor and the voiceless have most borne the costs of the hollowing out of the state
The numbers in the 2020 budget may have been straightforward, as Treasury director-general Dondo Mogajane suggested, but the impacts at multiple levels — political and social — are definitely not. The burden of adjustment has largely fallen on two areas: public sector wages, and transfers to municipalities and provinces.
The former has been spoken about at length, so I wish to dedicate my attention to the latter. In considering this, it is helpful to reflect on what informs the allocations to municipalities, particularly conditional grants linked to service infrastructure — especially infrastructure that ensures the lights stay on, the taps have running water and the sewers don’t overflow on untarred streets.