South Africans are in for tougher times after Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana warned that taxes are likely to rise next year.
Delivering his medium-term budget speech in parliament, he cited lacklustre economic growth, low revenue collection and soaring interest costs on the national debt as reasons for the likely increase in taxes.
The government will also forge ahead with cost-cutting measures, including reducing the size of its departments, Mr Godogwana added.
He promised to protect critical services like health, policing and education from spending cuts.
But trade unions and civil society groups warned that budget constraints would prevent the recruitment of new teachers, and increase pressure on health services.
The government bowed to pressure from social activists to again extend a monthly social relief grant given to more than eight million people in financial difficulty.
The monthly payment was first introduced in 2020 as a temporary measure to help people during Covid lockdowns.