At the rate we are going, South Africa will run out of money by 2042: economist

The South African government can save vast sums of money by tightening its belt in just a few key ministries.

This is according to the head of the Fiscal Cliff Study Group, Professor Jannie Rossouw, who was speaking to 702’s Bongani Bingwa.

In a parliamentary presentation on Wednesday (27 February), Rossouw and the Fiscal Cliff Study Group showed the effective costs of running 35 ministries in South Africa.

Ministries are distinct from departments in South Africa and typically only refer to executive level members and staff.

The group found that it costs the taxpayer R137 million to run the Ministry of Defence and Military Veterans.

At the other end of the scale, the Ministry of Finance costs the taxpayer R4.4 million per annum.

When looking at the breakdown of the costs, the group found that money was primarily being spent on expenses such as security, advisors and office staff.

“Simply, we don’t understand this large disparity between these ministries,” said Rossouw. “We need to interrogate this, as the figures that we are seeing make no sense.”

Rossouw added that if spending could be reduced across these 35 ministries to the same level as the ministry of finance, the country could save R1 billion.

“We need a thorough investigation of what is going on in these ministries as we cannot waste a R1 billion of taxpayers money,” he said.

“South Africa is on the course to a fiscal cliff and if we do not change behaviour in our country very urgently we will then fall over this cliff.”

Rossouw warned of the rising gap between revenue and spending on state wages, social assistance and debt service costs.

“At the rate we are going, this country is going to run out of money by 2042. We cannot continue.”

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At the rate we are going, South Africa will run out of money by 2042: economist