President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recovery plan had to respond to a very difficult situation. The country was in trouble before Covid-19 — an economy that has not grown for years, junk status, declining revenue, expanding debt, probably the world’s deepest unemployment crisis and a weak, corrupt almost broken state.

All this has been worsened by the pandemic and lockdown: an economy shrinking by about 8%, even higher unemployment, a revenue shortfall over R300bn, the country borrowing R2bn a day, and a growing social crisis...

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