2024 National Budget Address: What It Means for You

On 21 February 2024, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana stood before the crowd at City Hall in Cape Town to deliver the National Budget Address. It might sound like just another bureaucratic event, but its significance is vital, especially with the upcoming South African National Elections on the horizon, scheduled for 29 May 2024.

This speech was more than just a formality; it was a glimpse into what the current government plans to do if they get another five-year term. Think of it as a roadmap for where your tax money might be going and how it could affect your life.

The focus of this budget was on making tangible changes in the lives of everyday South Africans. The Finance Minister emphasised this by allocating a substantial portion of the budget—six out of every ten rands—to what’s called “social wages.” Essentially, this means more money going towards things like social grants, which millions of people in our country rely on to make ends meet.

For instance, social grants are set to increase significantly, from R217 billion in 2023/2024 to R259 billion in 2026/2027. This includes boosts to old age grants, foster care grants, and child support grants, which will all see increases.

Minister Godongwana delivers his address

But it was not just about handouts. The Minister also addressed some tough issues facing the government, particularly concerning failing State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs). He made it clear that there would no longer be any last-minute bailouts or government guarantees for these struggling companies.

Other key areas of spending in the budget include allocations for peace and security, health, job creation, public infrastructure, and education. For example, there’s a significant chunk earmarked for training 10,000 new police recruits to tackle the crime problems plaguing our communities.

The Finance Minister was honest about the challenges ahead. He emphasised that the goal is to get South Africa back on track economically, socially, and in terms of public safety. This budget went beyond balancing numbers; it was about setting the stage for the country’s recovery.

So, while the budget speech may seem like a distant political affair, its impact reaches every corner of our lives. As we move towards a new era of democracy, the decisions made now will shape the future of South Africa for years to come.