The threat of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout, unthinkable a few years ago, may force the South African government to push through the reforms it needs to rescue the economy.

An expanded bailout for struggling power utility Eskom and calls from other state companies for support have strained the national budget, prompting business groups and analysts to warn the country could be pressed to ask the IMF to help keep a lid on ballooning debt...

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