Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has kicked the can down the road, delaying all major decisions on the budget until February, allowing the budget deficit to balloon and the expenditure ceiling to be breached. The deficit before borrowing for 2017-18 is projected to rise to 4.3% from the 3.1% target set in the February budget; spending will be R3.9bn higher than anticipated; revenue is expected to fall short by R50.8bn; and growth has been revised down from 1.3% to 0.7% for 2017. In a medium-term budget policy statement that was bleaker than most in the market had anticipated, Gigaba said in his speech in the National Assembly that he was giving an honest view of the challenges facing the country. “It is not in the public interest, nor is it in the interest of government, to sugar-coat the state of our economy and the challenges we are facing. It is only when we understand these challenges fully and candidly that we will know what to do … as well as what trade-offs must be made in the ...

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