The DA has accused Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe of executing a "power grab" that has reduced Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba and the Treasury to mere "bookkeepers" ahead of the finalisation of the budget for the 2018-19 financial year. The DA’s concerns were echoed by Treasury insiders at the weekend. Last week, Radebe outlined the details contained in the "mandate paper", which is meant to guide the Treasury on the budgeting process and spending priorities. The mandate paper identified higher education, social security and job creation as priorities. Radebe said that given the absence of fiscal space, departments would have to use noncore spending and nonperforming programmes to finance their identified priorities and fund national priorities. Treasury insiders told Business Day at the weekend that there was concern that the mandate paper could create confusion around the budgeting process, a situation which could prompt another ratings downgrade. Ratings agencies have pre...

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