South Africa's Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana presents his 2022 budget in Cape Town, South Africa, February 23, 2022.
South Africa's Minister of Finance Enoch Godongwana IBTimes US

Minister of Finance of South Africa, Enoch Godongwana admitted that South Africa's public finances are under strain and it is important to hold individuals and entities accountable to gain public trust in the government.

Godongwana, who attended the 3rd Public Finance Management Conference virtually on Wednesday, said that it is vital to have "swift and fitting consequences" for financial misconduct.

"Without swift and fitting consequences, we risk eroding public trust in our capacity to manage public funds effectively, with less and less funding available to deliver much-needed services to our people," he said, SA News reported.

He urged rigorous and independent audit practices to lower the corruption and financial mismanagement of public finances.

Godongwana noted that South Africa's "public finances are currently in a difficult position, one that is increasing in complexity and uncertainty," adding that the short-term predicted risks - on local and global levels in the February Budget - are now materialized.

The minister pointed out that the government has received lower-than-expected tax revenue and dealing with tighter financial conditions, which makes it difficult to borrow more and at affordable rates.

Furthermore, Godongwana admitted that continued load-shedding is also a major issue as it impacts performance in logistics sectors. "The lasting damage done by State capture to our institutions has made the difficult fiscal situation even more challenging," he added.

"Furthermore, ethical sourcing of goods and services through public procurement stands as an unassailable priority. Non-compliance with ethical standards in procurement can have far-reaching consequences, compromising the integrity of our financial processes," he continued.

The finance minister explained that to navigate through this storm, it is important to make the necessary policy decisions and trade-offs, adding that the country has faced similar challenges in the past.

"The path forward is not devoid of challenges; however, we are not powerless," the minister said. "With innovation, adaptability, and a resolute commitment to ethical financial management, we can surmount these obstacles and forge a luminous future for South Africa."

He urged to make use of technology and create collaboration across sectors while ensuring that citizens remain at the center of every decision that the government makes.

"Together, we hold the power to rekindle public trust, to advance good governance, and to fortify our nation's public financial management," he concluded.

Before becoming finance minister in August 2021, Godongwana served as Deputy Minister of Economic Development of South Africa from 2010 to 2012, Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises from 2009 to 2010; and Member of the National Assembly from 2008 to 2011.