President Cyril Ramaphosa and finance minister Tito Mboweni are in a bind. In a few days Mboweni will have to deliver amended estimates of national expenditure, a revised division of revenue bill and a new appropriation bill. He will do so in the context of a horrific market and ghastly macroeconomic backdrop.

Business confidence is lower than it was after PW Botha’s Rubicon speech in 1985, official unemployment will likely breach 40% this year, there is a R230bn hole in revenue collections, risk-off sentiment makes hard currency issuances unfavourable, wages are under pressure and there is an expectant yet restless and divided nation...

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