Gordhan faces thorny afternoon of budget speech strain

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Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) will receive more attention than it’s used to, when it is delivered in Parliament this afternoon.

Gordhan will deliver his MTBPS at 14:00 on Wednesday afternoon, this with the fraud charges he’s facing hanging heavily over his head.

The MTBPS highlights key government priorities, the size of the spending envelope for the next Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period, the proposed division of revenue, and major provincial and local government allocations.

And aside from the criminal charges he currently faces, Gordhan will also be presenting the MTBPS amidst the ongoing #FeesMustFall student protests across the country.

University campuses across the country have been brought to a standstill for several weeks, due to students protesting in demand of free tertiary education. Government has agreed not to increase 2017 fees for students from households earning less 600 000 a year, and Gordhan has pledged to find a promised extra R16.3-billion to fund universities over the next three years.

The MTBPS as a general rule doesn’t really receive much attention, but this speech is set to be a defining one for Gordhan, with members of the #FeesMustFall movement also planning a protest as he takes to the podium in Parliament.

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