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Why an aloe for Budget? We need to withstand the elements, says Mboweni

"Today, I bring you a seed to prove that if we plant anew, we can return to those plum times," the minister said in his Budget 2019 speech.

Bitter Aloe: Finance Minister Tito Mboweni says the country needs to withstand the elements. Picture: Twitter/@ParliamentofRSA

CAPE TOWN - Finance Minister Tito Mboweni used the Aloe Ferox as an analogy for the economy on Wednesday.

In his maiden Budget speech, Mboweni harked back to fatter times for South Africa, when former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel handed out plums to Members of Parliament.

Mboweni chose a hardier, pricklier specimen to make his point, as he delivered a tough-talking, tricky Budget, full of difficult truths about an economy that’s spending more than it makes, and groaning under the burden of a bloated public service.

So what is this plant? It’s an indigenous aloe, hardy, drought resistant and often used for its medicinal properties. It’s found across South Africa’s coastal regions, shooting up flame coloured flowers in the winter months, and growing up to 3m high.

Its Latin name – Ferox – means fierce, and it’s also known as the Bitter Aloe.

WATCH: Aloe what now?