Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana has issued a warning to South Africans about the impending tax increases in 2019.
With the nation facing economic challenges, dwindling revenue collection, and mounting interest expenses on the national debt, Godongwana defended the necessity of these tax hikes during his medium-term budget speech to the parliament.
The finance minister also unveiled a series of cost-cutting measures, which includes reducing the number of government departments.
Despite these fiscal constraints, Godongwana assured the public that critical services like healthcare, law enforcement, and education would be safeguarded from budget cuts.
However, this move has raised concerns among civil society organizations and trade unions, who fear that the financial restraints will hamper the recruitment of new instructors and add strain to the already burdened healthcare system.
Responding to the pressure from social activists, the government has committed to renew the monthly social assistance program, which aids over eight million financially struggling individuals.
This initiative was originally introduced in 2020 as a temporary measure to support people during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
South Africans must now prepare for a challenging financial landscape in the coming year as the government seeks to address its economic woes.