Parliament going all out to prevent Budget speech delay

Delaying the State of The Nation Address is unprecedented, but if it impacts on the delivery of the national budget, it could be disastrous.

FILE: Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba delivers his maiden Medium Term Budget Policy Statement on 25 October 2017. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - Parliament says it is going all out to ensure that the postponement of the State of The Nation Address (Sona) does not, in turn, delay the delivery of the national budget.

The 2018 Budget is set to be delivered on February 21 by Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba.

Party chief whips are set to meet at Parliament on Wednesday to discuss rescheduling Sona, with Parliament’s presiding officers saying on Tuesday that they hoped this could be done as soon as next week.

Delaying the State of The Nation Address is unprecedented, but if it impacts on the delivery of the national budget, it could be disastrous.

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete says: “This postponement has taken into account the tabling of the national budget in the next two weeks. We are going all out to make sure that the budget is not disturbed, or in fact, postponed at all, because that would affect the lives of the public.”

The tabling of the budget and the Appropriations and Division of Revenue bills locks Parliament into a complex programme of committee oversight work, debates and votes that have to be completed within a tight timetable.

Unless deadlines are met, the integrity of the process itself is put at risk and the allocation of funds to government departments and entities at national, provincial and local level could be in jeopardy.

With just two weeks to go to Budget day, the clock is ticking.

LISTEN: Baleka Mbete announces Sona postponement

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)