One of the most controversial measures in the 2020 budget was the proposed dramatic cut in the public wage bill. Aside from the politics involved, and the macroeconomics — both of which are likely to be counterproductive — this is a bad idea because of the way the SA state works.

The bureaucracy simply doesn’t do enough of its own work as it is. The Public Affairs Research Institute (Pari) found in 2014 that “one of the largest tasks, arguably the single largest function” of most government departments had become the procurement and management of outsourced functions...

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