Closeup scattered collection of used South African twenty and fifty Rand brown and blue bank notes

Ahead of Wednesday’s budget speech, the DA has expressed dismay about the country’s R4-trillion debt crisis.

Finance minister Tito Mboweni is set to deliver his budget speech amid SA’s growing economic crisis since the Covid-19 pandemic took over the country more than 11 months ago.

Last year Mboweni said the country has accumulated far too much debt. He said early projections show gross national debt will be close to R4-trillion, or 81.8% of gross domestic product (GDP) by the end of the fiscal year.

At the weekend, DA shadow minister of finance Geordin Hill-Lewis said years of the ANC’s spending and borrowing too much, long before the Covid-19 crisis, left the country in a sad state. He said this was the main reason there is not enough money to help those in need.

“All this debt must be paid off in years to come, and that means every South African, our children and our grandchildren, will inherit the burden of paying off this debt,” Hill-Lewis said.

“Every child born in SA today already owes R67,000 before they have taken their first breath. This number is going up as the government continues to borrow more and more.”

Hill-Lewis said the more government borrows, the more interest it will have to pay, leaving less money for basic services like education and health.

“This is a double injustice against future generations. More debt to pay off and less basic services. It is wrong to sacrifice our children’s futures. They deserve better. The ANC must get debt under control before it takes the whole country down with it. It has to stop,” he said.

On social media, Hill-Lewis’ statement drew mixed reactions, with some saying it was “fearmongering” antics  while others said it was a cause for concern.

Here is a snapshot of some of the reactions.