SAFTU general-secretary Zwelinzima Vavi says newly-appointed Finance Minister Tito Mboweni must acknowledge the extent of poverty in the country and take practical steps to confront the problem.

Mboweni faces an unenviable balancing act when he delivers his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement in Parliament on Wednesday. He will seek to reconcile the need to take control of the high public debt with calls for more spending ahead of the 2019 polls.

Mboweni, is the country’s fifth finance minister in three years. He will announce tax and spending plans amid unprecedented unemployment, a recession, shrinking tax income and ballooning debt.

Vavi explains, “The resources that the apartheid regime had and the resources that we do not have at this moment to build our manufacturing base and to address the levels of poverty and inequalities in our society. We chose not to do so because we wanted to be the good boys of the rating agencies, the international markets and not the good boys of our people who are desperately hungry.”

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