SA’s fiscal challenges are like an iceberg in the water ahead of a ship. President Cyril Ramaphosa, as the captain, and finance minister Tito Mboweni, as his navigator, need to make drastic decisions quickly, with the knowledge that they can’t see the full iceberg but need to budget for it.

The tip of the iceberg has now grown to R370,6bn, which is the ballooning budget deficit, and we need to reduce that to zero to start reducing debt effectively. The speed of climbing debt increases the speed of the ship. The iceberg remains — in the form of imploding water infrastructure, including sewage and river systems, state debt guarantees that are becoming state debt, and imploding municipalities whose main income is from water and electricity, commodities they are losing quickly. Also, can we fix the electricity problem quickly enough?

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