As Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan added the finishing touches to his budget on Tuesday, organised business demanded clarity on long term economic plans.
Economists said there was little room in which to move while the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) wanted radical changes to the economy.
Gordhan will be expected to provide more details on the infrastructure plans announced during President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address two weeks ago.
He will also speak on the increasing petrol prices and the economy in general.
Business Unity South Africa's Raymond Parsons said they wanted certainty.
“I don’t think that business is expecting any fireworks but I think what we do want is consistent message, that we have our public finances under control.”
Economist Iraj Abedian said Gordhan was in a tight spot.
“Minister Gordhan finds himself in an economy that at the moment is in a decline.”
While Cosatu General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi wants big changes.
“We want to see an introduction of capital controls to prevent the volatility of the currency.”
Meanwhile, trade union, Solidarity, said it hoped education will be further prioritised.
Solidarity’s Piet le Roux said easing into the tax burden on the private sector may free up money which could be ploughed into education.
“We are just interested in a lower tax in general for South Africans, for workers and business people, because the source of wealth creation in the long run is in the private sector,” he said.
Ernie Laiking, a tax consultant at Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs, said Gordhan should emphasise the need for government to spend taxpayers’ money wisely.
“There has been a great deal of work done on the collection side but there is an also an opposite obligation on the part of the state to spend the money efficiently and not waste."
NGO, Equal Education, would like the Basic Education Ministry to adopt a set of standards for school infrastructure.
Dozens of the group's members and pupils picketed outside Parliament on Tuesday, ahead of the Gordhan's speech.
They want Gordhan to allocate more money to improving school infrastructure.
Equal Education's Brad Brockman said they demand norms and standards for this.
“It is basically a set of laws which will determine what the minimum infrastructure is that all schools should have.”
He said that in some provinces the need for improving school infrastructure has been neglected.
“We know there are certain provinces that are doing worse than other provinces. In the Eastern Cape there are about 400 schools which have been made up of mud.”