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Mantashe: Gordhan's budget a balanced one

Gwede Mantashe says the ANC is satisfied that transformation in the economic sector has been prioritised.

FILE: ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG/ CAPE TOWN - African National Congress (ANC) secretary general Gwede Mantashe says the Budget has obviously been carefully crafted under very difficult economic conditions.

Mantashe says considering that in the last financial year South Africa only grew by half a percent and will probably only grow by 1.3% this year, to have a budget as balanced as the one presented by Minister Pravin Gordhan is quite a skill.

The secretary general says the party is satisfied that transformation in the economic sector has been prioritised.

Mantashe also added that it’s important to create a more vibrant manufacturing sector to supplement what could be lost in an industry like mining.

“More important to me, was the emphasis on education. If you invest in higher education, you invest in the future. But the minister correctly emphasised that you can’t just throw resources at higher education, we must actually look through the system, invest in basic education and development.”

Meanwhile, in reaction to the Budget, the official opposition had hoped for an announcement on more spending reductions.

The DA's David Maynier said: “We are disappointed that there weren’t announcements about further spending cuts. We will spend, for example, R14.3 billion of bloated executive and legislators throughout South Africa and we think there’s further scope for spending cuts. That is why we’ve proposed a comprehensive spending review.”

The speech focused on stimulating economic growth and transforming the economy, revealing tax hikes and a 30 cents per liter fuel levy increase.

But market analyst George Glynos says while it was well delivered, it was “underwhelming”.

“I’m just not sure that this budget in any way addresses the depths of growth in this economy and I don’t see how what has been announced today takes us a step in the right direction.”

WATCH: The 2017 Budget in 60 seconds