(Bloomberg) -- South African Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana said his 2024 budget wasn’t designed to curry favor with voters and the country’s top two problems were fixing its debilitating power and logistics problems.

“If you’re going to do fiscal consolidation, do it as far away from the election as possible,” he told an event in Cape Town on Thursday, a day after he presented the budget. “You can’t influence an election with a budget in two months.”

The budget was his last before May 29 elections in which the ruling African National Congress risks losing its majority for the first time since 1994 — when Nelson Mandela led it to power and ended White-minority rule.

Godongwana pleased investors by announcing he would ease the cash-strapped country’s debt burden to the tune of 150 billion rand ($7.9 billion) by tapping profits on its gold and foreign exchange reserves, while lifting social spending in a critical election year.

Debt as a share of the overall economy will now peak at 75.3% in 2025-26, down from 77.7% estimated in November. Easing the debt burden allows President Cyril Ramaphosa to protect popular social spending programs that the ANC will hope pleases voters despite the country’s tough financial position.

Rolling national power cuts and clogged port and rail networks have stunted economic growth and undermined public finances.

Godongwana said electricity shortages and the snarled logistics were problems one and two constraining South African economic growth, followed by the imperative of tackling crime and corruption.

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