The Minister of Finance delivered the 2017 Budget Speech on Wednesday 22 February. The speech focused on decreasing government expenditure and raising tax revenues with the aim to ‘balance spending commitments, particularly in higher education, health and social protection, and ensuring the long-term health of the public finances'.
The Minister announced a cut in the expenditure ceiling by R26 billion over the next three years and expenditure for this financial year is projected at R1.56 trillion. The budget deficit of R146 billion will be borrowed.
The budget showed that after debt service and post-school education and training, the fastest-growing spending categories are health, social development, and community and economic infrastructure.
Government is allocating R320.5 billion to education for the 2017/2018 financial year. Spending on basic education next year will be over R240 billion, or 17.5% of the consolidated budget.
A further R5 billion has been added in the outer year of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) in addition to the increases of R32 billion made to the higher education allocations in last year's Budget and the 2016 Medium Term Budget Policy Statement.
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) allocation is R15.3 billion for this financial year while projected spending is at 54.3 billion over the next 3 years.
The overall expenditure on social assistance is R180 billion. The following increases will take effect from 1 April:
Old age grant to increase by R90 to R1600 for pensioners over 60 years and to R1620 for those over 75 years
Child support grant will increase by R20 to R380
Foster care grant to increase by R30 to R920
Disability and care dependency grants will increase from R1 510 to R1 600
See infographic below for more on hoe this year's budget will be spent: