When the 2020 national budget was delivered, the coronavirus garnered little attention. In his speech, finance minister Tito Mboweni mentioned it once, in relation to uncertainty for forecasts of Asia’s growth.

Near the close of the budget day press conference one official addressed it — Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago. He noted that none of the economic forecasts at the time had factored it in. “If it becomes a global pandemic the impact on the global economy will be huge,” Kganyago warned...

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