Finance minister Tito Mboweni has three months to deliver a credible plan to stabilise government debt, starting with finding savings of about R150bn, and tackle the risks posed by state-owned enterprises (SOEs), especially Eskom, if SA is to avoid junk status after the 2020 February budget.

But most of the R150bn in budget savings, promised in Mboweni’s medium-term budget policy statement (MTBPS) last week, will probably have to come from the state wage bill, say economists, putting the government on a collision course with public sector unions...

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