South Africa: Treasury Circles February 21 for Budget Speech – South African News Briefs – January 23, 2023

 

Treasury Circles February 21 for Budget Speech

South Africa’s national budget day, scheduled for 21 February, awaits final confirmation, with Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana signaling significant government cost-cutting measures and the need to recoup about R15 billion in taxes, reports News24. Analysts remain skeptical about the government’s commitment to austerity, particularly in an election year. The debate over raising the additional funds has included concerns about potential increases in value-added tax, but economists suggest achieving the amount through various means, such as avoiding adjustments to tax brackets to prevent bracket creep. The budget will also address issues like load shedding, Eskom’s debt, Transnet, and state-owned enterprise bailouts. Godongwana emphasizes the importance of addressing structural problems in sectors like electricity and Transnet, with no new allocations or support for state-owned companies in the next two years. Social welfare grants and borrowing plans will be central to discussions, aligning with the fiscal consolidation desired by rating agencies. As the date approaches, the National Treasury enters a close-out period until 20 February, with senior officials occupied in budget preparations.

Police Minister Bheki Cele Criticizes Zuma Over New MK Party

Police Minister Bheki Cele has called on the African National Congress ( ANC) supporters to abandon support for former president Jacob Zuma, urging them to “let him go” after Zuma announced his vote for the newly formed uMkhonto weSizwe party, reports IOL. Speaking at an ANC lecture in eThekwini, Cele declared it the “funeral of Zuma” and challenged him to reveal long-threatened secrets. ANC officials, including Bheki Mtolo, emphasized that Zuma had “expelled himself,” and the ANC would address his status post-election. Cele recalled a controversial “Nkandla tea visit” with Zuma in 2021, expressing concern over Zuma’s indifference to potential violence in KZN. With escalating tensions between Zuma and the Zondo Commission, Cele emphasized the ANC’s contribution to Zuma and urged supporters to prioritize the party over individuals, calling for Zuma’s release.

Mass Shooting Leaves Four Dead in Mpumalanga Tavern Tragedy

Mpumalanga police are on a manhunt following a mass shooting at Chisa Mpama tavern in Kgobokwane near Siyabuswa over the weekend, resulting in four fatalities and three injuries, reports TimesLIVE. The incident occurred around 9 pm on Sunday when a group of armed suspects, reportedly carrying high-calibre firearms, stormed the tavern and began shooting randomly. Three victims died at the scene, while a fourth succumbed to injuries in the hospital. Police are investigating four counts of murder and multiple counts of attempted murder. Three injured individuals are currently receiving treatment, and a motive for the shootings remains unknown. As authorities intensify their efforts to track down the suspects, no arrests have been made at this time.

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