CAPE TOWN - South Africa is drowning in debt and there aren't many lifelines available.
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, in his medium-term budget speech, said this year the national debt exceeded R3-trillion and it is expected to rise to R4,5-trillion in the next three years.
The message from our minister of finance is that we are in big trouble.
"Our expenditure continues to exceed our revenue. The economy is not performing well," Mboweni told Parliament.
"In these difficult times, we have turned against one another. We have regrettably turned against our brothers and sisters from the rest of the continent."
Mboweni said it cannot be business as usual and we will have to start doing things differently, starting with a culture of payment and the duty to pay tax.
The minister said state-owned entities need to wean themselves off the national budget.
"Managers and their teams should not receive bonuses or salary increase when they fail to meet basic financial targets. In fact, they should take a pay cut."
The minister predicted that SAA is unlikely to ever generate enough cash flow to sustain operations in its current state.
And while the government has a comprehensive plan for Eskom, it simply can't keep throwing money at it.
The minister added there are serious measures in place to grow the economy.