There was hope that the Budget Review 2020 would give SA some good news. The preceding fiscal address from finance minister Tito Mboweni — the medium-term budget policy statement (MTBPS), delivered just four months ago — sounded many warning bells about the country’s fiscal situation and the promise of good news to be delivered this time around.

There were certainly some positive announcements. Following a lot of media coverage of analysts predicting an increase in VAT, the dreaded rise did not materialise. In fact, the finance minister announced some tax relief for consumers...

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