With just hours to go before Finance Minister Tito Mboweni tables his budget, expectations are high among ordinary South Africans. Amid soaring unemployment, job cuts and lack of opportunity, many will be watching closely, hoping for lifeline.

Elias Ndala sells bracelets and necklaces for a living. But it’s hard since as a day on the streets does not guarantee food on the table. He only has one request to Tito Mboweni.

“As someone who runs a small business, I would like all small businesses to get financial (sic) so that we can grow. Even here, where I am selling is not ideal. Growth will also mean getting a bigger place to trade, as here it’s under a tree and winter is approaching,” says Ndala.

By the end of 2018, unemployment was sitting at 27.1%. It’s expected Mboweni will focus on jobs, jobs and more jobs.

That’s all Lwazi Manzi wants to hear. He’s an honours graduate in Motion Picture, but still relying on his parents and siblings to get by.

“I would like to hear from Minister Mboweni what budget there is for artists because without it there is no opportunity for us. I studied for four years and now this,” says Manzi.

A fate that Phundulo Matidza, a final year mining engineering student, hopes will not be awaiting him. He obtained a bursary through the Mining Qualifications Authority in 2013.

Luckily, because his mother is a pensioner and his father late. With thousands of jobs shed in the industry, Phundulo is panicking.