Treasury director-general Dondo Mogajane painted a dire picture of government finances as he explained the government’s refusal to grant public sector salary increases that he said would inflate its debt and hurt an economy that is already mired in its longest recession in more than a decade.

In court papers filed at the labour court on Friday, Mogajane said that implementing the third and final year of a multi-term wage agreement with unions would mean the total bill would take up nearly 60% of the country’s tax revenues for the current year...

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