Before the presentation of the National Budget in November 2019, citizens where naturally anxious and
expectant at the same time. The announcement of the Budget by Minister of Finance Professor Mthuli
Ncube was unsurprisingly met by mixed reactions. Young people celebrated the fact that he had
acknowledged them, but the health sector was still suffering, the education sector not sure of where
they stood and the grandmother, grandfather, mother and father in the rural areas where not sure what
this budget meant to them and their families. This sort of confusion and lack of knowledge around the
budget has become the norm and has gotten to the point where even our own ministers and MPs
welcome the budget without fully understanding its implications on the citizenry.
Our ‘Game Changers of the Day’ from Media Monitors discussed the implications of ignorance when it
comes to the budgeting process. Being the moderator, my role was to ask key questions around the
participatory process of citizens, the role media plays when it comes to the budgeting process and the
role of members of parliament.
It’s interesting to note that the media has almost been completely shut out from being educated about
the budgeting process yet they play a key role in breaking it down to the citizens. As a result, citizens
don’t understand the technical process and they at times end up approving something they are unsure
of. Ministers and members of Parliament are also not very sure of the technicalities within the
budgeting process thus it becomes a vicious cycle of lack of knowledge and ignorance.
In conclusion of this conversation, recommendations on how citizens can fully participate and benefit
from the budgeting process were made and these included educating Members of Parliament on the
technicalities of the budget, educating the media on the technicalities of the budget so that they will be
able to explain to the public through Newspapers, Radio and Television. The last recommendation was
for the citizens to also fully participate in community meetings so that they can share their challenges.
What a very insightful and thought provoking conversation with real Game Changers in our community