Over the past month numerous advanced and developing economies have announced comprehensive public health and macroeconomic measures to reverse the outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic and counter its devastating economic impact. But President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the nation on Sunday treated the situation as just a public health crisis and failed to provide macroeconomic measures to avert the disaster scenario facing the economy ahead of a possible downgrade to junk status next Friday.

Ramaphosa said the government would announce fiscal measures to support the economy after consultation with business, labour and other stakeholders, and they were in an urgent meeting at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) on Monday afternoon. But after two hours listening to the cabinet briefing on the government response to the pandemic on Monday morning, I decided I had had enough.

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