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Few dispute that the economy is in serious trouble — millions of citizens, especially women, continue to live in abject poverty; unemployment rates and inequality levels are among the highest in the world and economic growth continues to be extremely low. These problems have characterised the economy since well before the transition to democracy in 1994, and SA’s history of dispossession, low wages, racial and gender discrimination and inequality is a key part of why the economy continues to be hamstrung. In recent years, the problems in the economy have become more severe due to a number of short-to medium-term challenges that have exacerbated the crisis.

Among these, the most important are: public finances are in a mess; the SA Revenue Service’s ability to collect revenue has been undermined; unemployment continues to increase; household expenditure is falling as households cope with increasing prices and higher costs of living; important sectors of the private-sector econom...

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