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Gordhan prepares for most important budget speech yet

The finance minister will deliver his crucial budget speech in Parliament on Wednesday this week.

FILE: Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - All eyes will be on Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's crucial budget speech in Parliament this week.

Gordhan, who was reappointed to the portfolio in December, is expected to introduce austerity measures when he delivers his speech on Wednesday.

President Jacob Zuma has already announced government will be cutting costs by curtailing overseas trips, spending on catering and conferences, and lavish dinners.

It's being billed as Gordhan's most important budget speech yet as South Africa faces being downgraded to junk status.

Economist Dawie Roodt says ratings agencies will be listening carefully.

He says Gordhan may have to take politically unpopular decisions.

"He either needs to cut back on state spending, which increased quite dramatically over the last couple of years. Or he needs to get some money somewhere, which means an increase in different taxes. The third thing would be to announce some sort of privatisation processes or projects."

Zuma set the tone in his State of the Nation Address (Sona), acknowledging times are tough and government has to cut costs.

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