While ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa applauded Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba’s "frank" account of SA’s finances, economists and opposition parties were less enthusiastic, with some saying a ratings downgrade is now inevitable. Gigaba delivered his first medium-term budget policy statement in Parliament on Wednesday following a walkout by the EFF, and in the midst of the rand’s crash to a 10-month low. Gigaba’s speech skirted around many uncomfortable aspects of the country’s fiscal risks but he did talk tough on the management of state-owned enterprises that use government guarantees. But Kodwa said Gigaba’s frank account should be appreciated as a bold step in mending the economy and state-owned entities. "What is important is his boldness and willingness to appreciate the difficulties in a very frank way without giving false expectations to the nation," said Kodwa. "The boldness of leadership to stabilise the SOEs is also important … SOEs are the bedrock of our developmental state." Ko...

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