South African Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has said criticisms again Treasury that it has adopted “austerity” measures are unfounded, especially in light of the substantial spending directed towards social spending. Fin24 reports that responding to questions from Members of Parliament on the decision made to provide below-inflation increases on social grants, Mboweni highlighted that social services account for more than half (56%) of the R2.02 trillion expenditure for the 2021/22 year. Meanwhile Treasury’s deputy director general of public finance, said that efforts had been made to protect social grants since 2012 when government had to cut back on its expenditure growth. However, the need to arrest debt growth and achieve fiscal consolidation to deal with the budget deficit made it difficult to “fully protect” social grants this time round.