When Finance Minister Tito Mboweni tables his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement, he must pronounce on what he kicked for touch in June's emergency Covid-19 Budget. It's not going to be pretty.
The numbers are grim, but not unknown. Tax collection is down at least R304.1-billion from what was expected in February 2020. Debt is up and rising, with already 21 cents in every tax rand spent on making interest payments.
It will be the narrative of Wednesday's Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) that will be key to the credibility of allocating pitiful public finances. Largely unheeded have been previous grim budgetary chronicles of bare cupboards, and how even the hardy aloe is struggling.
One aspect will be spinning the R10.4-billion for SAA, not as a bailout, but as support to staff and creditors as part of a successful business rescue. That was Public Enterprise Minister Pravin Gordhan's take when he talked to Tim Modise on 21 October. (https://www.businesslive.co.za/bdtv/television-shows/political-currency-with-tim-modise/)
"We have a clear government mandate authorised by Cabinet to move in the direction we are moving in (business rescue), so we have the best possible outcome. Right now, we have obligations to staff and creditors and moving beyond that to get...