South Africa: Land Bank Push for More Billions Raises Doubt About MTBPS Commitments, Including Public Wage Chill

analysis

Less than 24 hours after the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement was presented, its credibility is being called into question. The Land Bank is pushing for R7-billion, despite warnings on South Africa's unsustainable debt levels that in no small way triggered the public wage freeze.

A slip of a ministerial tongue during Thursday's briefing on the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan got the ball rolling.

"The additional investment announced by the minister of finance on the Land Bank is welcomed... This additional investment means we are not missing this planting season," said Agriculture and Land Reform Minister Thoko Didiza.

But presenting the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) on Wednesday afternoon, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni made no such announcement. What he did say was perhaps an indication of the as yet unresolved funding contestation.

"R3-billion was allocated to the Land Bank in June. The bank will require an additional R7-billion over the medium term to support its restructuring," is what Mboweni told MPs before segueing to the R10.5-billion bailout for SAA, styled by the government as funding for the airline's business rescue.

The MTBPS itself is also clear on the fiscal framework over the next three years: "n0 further recapitalisation...

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