South Africa: Mini Budget

Transnet gets its bailout, as does Denel and Sanral. And the social relief of distress grant is extended to April 2024. Under the motto of restoring public financial health, much about Wednesday’s Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement is about better fiscal numbers and stabilising debt.

The choice of which State-owned Entity (SOE) gets bailed out through a Special Appropriation Bill and which isn’t, when the list of troubled public entities is long and varied, is an interesting one.

Wednesday’s Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) left behind the Post Office — which MPs were recently told was effectively no longer a going concern — the national airliner SAA that needs R3.5-billion to finalise the private sector deal, and many others like the Land Bank, still vulnerable despite getting R10-billion over the past three years.

While the MTBPS confirms Eskom will get relief on its R400-billion debt, no announcement was made on the rands and cents — although between one and two-thirds of this is being considered. The 2023 Budget is the target date for a firm announcement, including conditions so Eskom, which received well over R200-billion bailout staggered over ten years from 2019, would not again return for help from the national…