Tito Mboweni’s budget speech will be called cautiously pragmatic, a reality check, a tightrope juggling act; but these labels will feel hollow because we all know what the speech is. It’s gaslighting. After all the ANC has stolen from us — lecturing us even as it looted, telling us that if we object to its vast programme of theft and its pogrom against talent it proves we are racist or reactionary or stupid or “clever blacks” — for any ANC official to stand up in public and breathe even a word about our money is more than bad manners or poor taste. It’s more than chutzpah. It’s abuse. Wednesday’s speech is being touted as a political and economic event. It is neither. It is a domestic disgrace: the return of a deadbeat father, reeking of liquor and sanctimony, ordering his family to gather round the kitchen table so he can tell them, in faintly accusing tones, that there’s no more money for bread or shoes because his friends got thirsty last night. To be fair, the patriarch’s family...

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