Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni on Wednesday announced a government spending spree of R950 million in law enforcement after violent unrest in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and Gauteng some two weeks ago.
Mboweni said Treasury had allocated an additional R250 million to the South African Police Services (Saps) and R700 million to the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) for their deployment to enforce law and order in affected communities.
“As you are aware, the president [Cyril Ramaphosa] has instructed the police and the SANDF to assist in bringing about peace and stability in our country, which is important,” said Mboweni.
“To that extent we are allocating an additional amount for the police, some R250 million rands, and R700 million for the SANDF for them to be able to perform and execute this task which has been given to them by the president.”
Despite the exorbitant amounts spent on law enforcement in the last two weeks, Mboweni said it was not about the defence force nor the police.
“At the end of the day it is not about the police, it is not about the defence force, it’s about us in our communities to ensure that peace and stability returns to our communities.”
“It is us who know who are the looters, it us who know who destroyed the ATMs, who destroyed the branches of banks, which makes it difficult for cash to flow in KZN in particular, it is us the community who must take the responsibility for the safety and security aspects,” said Mboweni.
He said Treasury would still maintain the fiscal path announced back in February during the Budget Speech.
“In this regard, fiscal consolidation remains a key pillar of our strategy and we do not intend to deviate from it. We are keenly aware that the announcement of these relief measures comes in the context of existing pressures on the fiscus. We will maintain the fiscal path we announced in the February budget,” said Mboweni.