In October 2009, following the announcement of further job losses in the third quarter of 2009, minister in the presidency Trevor Manuel said the government had “underestimated the seriousness of the recession”. Despite this acknowledgment, there were to be neither fiscal nor meaningful monetary stimulus to support a wilting economy shedding one-million jobs.

What would instead follow were successive budget speeches proclaiming the virtues of fiscal consolidation by the Treasury. The SA Reserve Bank would assume the unmandated mantle of the structural reforms agenda, despite evidence showing that these remedies would have deleterious effects on a weak economy...

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