Finance minister Tito Mboweni’s “emergency” budget, to be presented on Wednesday, is the headline-grabbing event of the week. It’s supposed to map a way forward for how the state will help galvanise an economy bludgeoned by the effects of the lockdown since the end of March.

The economy is now groggily awakening from a necessary self-induced coma to prepare our health sector for the peak in the Covid-19 pandemic in a couple of months. The lockdown and now the crippling problem of lack of demand in the economy have economists pencilling in a double-digit GDP contraction this year. It is not unfathomable; we are in a crisis...

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