Peter Bruce Columnist

Finance minister Tito Mboweni made one broad promise in last October's medium-term budget policy statement (MTBPS) that I still remember. He said the government would have to cut public spending by R150bn in the next three years, starting with the budget he is due to present on Wednesday next week. That’s R50bn in spending cuts a year.

I remember analysts saying it wasn’t enough. Moody’s Investors Service, the ratings agency that still has us at investment grade, would not be impressed and ultimately, if not immediately, downgrade us. I also remember thinking, “Where will they find R50bn to cut between November and the end of February?”

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