In the lead-up to his maiden national budget speech in Parliament on February 21, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba will be implored to make politically hard, but essential, budget choices. Many will argue that he should look to raise investor confidence through austerity measures, like freezing public sector wages and delaying the roll-out of national health insurance (NHI). But Gigaba’s allegiance should be to the South African people, and not investors. So what would the minister’s budget look like if it prioritised these people, instead of the nebulous business interests on which the wellbeing of our economy ostensibly depends? The budget must be understood beyond numbers and statistics. It is a political document that will reveal the vision of the ANC, and set out the programme of action through which the government must realise its constitutional obligations. The minister’s task should thus be to allocate funds in such a way as to ensure that SA’s chronic poverty and inequality a...

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