POLITICS
08/02/2018 11:26 SAST | Updated 08/02/2018 11:26 SAST

Budget Speech To Go Ahead (Hopefully) Despite Zuma Chaos

Parliament and the finance ministry have confirmed that the 2018 budget speech is scheduled to go ahead as planned on February 21.

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Minister of finance Malusi Gigaba and President Jacob Zuma.

Both Parliament and the finance ministry have confirmed that the 2018 budget speech will be delivered on February 21 as planned.

This despite political uncertainty surrounding President Jacob Zuma's fate as head of state.

But analysts have warned that a politically unstable environment may not bode well for the planning of the year's budget.

Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said all parties have agreed that the date of the budget speech must remain unchanged.

"It will not be affected. The state of the nation address will come before the budget speech," he said.

Finance minister Malusi Gigaba's spokesperson, Mayihlome Tshwete, also confirmed the date will remain.

"That is the statement that came from [National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete's] office," he said.

Earlier this month, Mbete declined a request by the DA to postpone the Sona until Zuma's fate was decided and all indications were that Sona would continue as normal on February 8. However, two days before the event, in a urgent press briefing, Mbete said the Sona had been postponed and did not indicate a time at which it would take place.

This has left many doubting whether the budget speech will then go ahead as planned.

Doctor Peter Baur from the University of Johannesburg's department of economics said he and other experts are concerned that the speech "may not happen on time".

"How can we create an informal budget if afterwards we have a new president or are unsure who the president will be?" he asked.

"The president or new president will have to be true to their ministers and they have their own agendas... If Zuma steps down, his ministers will have to follow the principles of his Cabinet. We will probably only see the real effects of this after the next election."