Finance minister Tito Mboweni. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER
Finance minister Tito Mboweni. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER

It was prudent not to have unrealistic expectations of the budget in the current climate and so close to an election. As expected, the challenging economic realities were written all over the budget. It boils down to a difficult set of compromises.

It is refreshing that this was not a populist budget with an eye on the election. The life-vests for SA Airways and Eskom logically raise eyebrows, although in the case of the latter it is more understandable given its vital role in the economy.

On the other hand, there is a clear determination to continue on the road to end corrupt practices and to strengthen control. Keeping the reins tight in difficult circumstances to prevent debt from escalating at a faster rate, is to be commended.

The remaining focus on education and the allocations to the farming communities are to be welcomed. The freezing of the salaries of MPs and members of the executive and the aim to cut the wage bill of the public sector reflect a much-needed sensitivity towards the people of SA and an awareness of the anger building up in especially the poorer sections of the population.

Overall, the budget can be described as the beginning of the strengthening of the resource base in order to table a more inclusive budget in future. Nothing to get excited about, but enough to be reassured about in an election year.

Dawie Jacobs, Sterrewag