Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana is set to deliver South Africa’s 2023 Budget Speech on 22 February at 14h00.
South Africans have anxiously awaited the Budget Speech that is set to be delivered today, 22 February 2023, by Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana. The annual Budget Speech is intended to provide a comprehensive overview of the country’s finances, information about its economic standing, distribution of revenue across government spheres, amendments to tax, expenditure across national departments, and overall vision for South Africa’s financial way forward.
In his State of the Nation Address, President Ramaphosa emphasized the government’s immediate priorities of resolving the electricity crisis, reducing unemployment, and fighting corruption and crime. Minister Godongwana is expected to provide details as to the way in which government plans to use its funds to address these commitments.
Whilst citizens are eager to hear some positive news, it is unlikely to be delivered. Global and domestic events have wreaked havoc on economies, and further strained government’s ability to support the country’s various fiscal needs. Economists anticipate that economic growth in South Africa will continue experiencing negative impacts brought about as a result of the ongoing continued rolling blackouts. The South African Reserve Bank has asserted that load shedding has reduced the country’s GDP growth prospects for the year by two percentage points.
The speech comes at a time that South Africa faces some of its greatest challenges, including load-shedding, an ongoing electricity crisis, and the looming threat of being greylisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Considering this, Minister Godongwana will need to tread a fine line between appeasing financial markets and credit rating agencies and satisfying the needs and expectations of the South African public. Of the most anticipated announcement, citizens are eager to know whether any new taxes will be introduced and whether there will be an increase in expenditure on social grants.
Legislation accompanying the Budget Speech, such as the Appropriations Bill, Division of Revenue Bill, and Tax Bills, will also be tabled. These bills will be discussed and processed by the finance and appropriation committees, providing an opportunity for lawmakers to scrutinise the government’s spending plans and hold them accountable for their actions.
Beyond the Budget Speech, the National Assembly Chamber is set to meet on Tuesday to consider the Agricultural Product Standards Amendment Bill and National Veld and Forest Fire Amendment Bill. On Thursday, lawmakers are expected to pass the Electoral Amendment Bill. Also, the Minister of Higher Education and Training will make a statement on the Post-School Education and Training Sector State of Readiness for the Academic Year 2023 and Related Matters amidst ongoing unrest at some university campuses. Each political party will have an opportunity to respond to the statement. These events are regular features of the NCOP’s program and provide a platform for the Executive and provinces to discuss and highlight national and provincial perspectives on issues.
This week has marked significant activity for parliament, with various committees having met to be briefed on a number of open matters and updates on plans for the year ahead. Most notably, the Standing Committee on Finance met to be briefed by the Auditor-General on audit outcomes of the National Treasury and its entities, as well as receive information from National Treasury and SARS on the high- and low-lights of their annual reports. Portfolio Committee meetings are expected to conclude on Friday 24 February.
Sabinet will continue to provide updates and to publish relevant documentation should any amendments in legislation be proposed or implemented. For accurate and up-to-date South African legal content, visit sabinet.co.za.