In his oped at the weekend finance minister Tito Mboweni tried to whip up enthusiasm for the government’s economic reform programme, which he said would be driven jointly by the Treasury and the presidency through  “Operation Vulindlela” or “opening the way”.

It was difficult for me to share his enthusiasm, as he announced Vulindlela a year ago but it did not materialise. The document, which came as the economy sank into stagnation and a ratings downgrade loomed, was welcomed with relief by a depressed business and investor community. But the thrust of the paper was no different from every budget review of the past decade...

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