What a first half of the year we’ve had. We started 2020 focused on the Treasury’s ability to rein in a widening budget deficit while facing consecutive weeks of load-shedding from Eskom, which burst any hopes of a strong economic recovery.

It wasn’t that long ago when we welcomed a budget speech by finance minister Tito Mboweni that promised a reduction in public-sector wage growth and other expenditure cuts as his last salvo at saving the country’s credit ratings from a possible downgrade into full-blown “junk” status. In the end, it proved insufficient to avoid a cut of the country’s sovereign ratings by Moody’s Ratings Services, the last agency that had SA on an investment grade...

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