In what feels like a case of economic policy déjà vu, SA is again being pushed by an elite echo chamber to believe it has a debt problem it does not have. If we blink first, we will again implement policies that will have disastrous consequences for the economy.

In June 1996 the government implemented the growth, employment and redistribution (Gear) programme, four months after a mild episode of currency instability — the rand lost 8.6% during the first three weeks of February — following rumours about then president Nelson Mandela’s health. It had remained at about R3.60/$ since 1994 on the back of strong capital inflows due to a mini post-democracy boom.

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