As SA’s fiscal position has steadily worsened in recent years, each budget and medium-term budget policy statement (MTBPS) seems to take on more significance as the public and investors look for signs that SA’s politicians understand the precariousness of the country’s finances and will make hard political choices to tackle this.

Invariably, however, it has been left to the Treasury to paper over the cracks left by politicians’ inability to deliver on spending cuts and redirect government spending towards investment rather than consumption, and their failure to move on policy reform...

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