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When politicians and economists disagree, the politicians prevail. Nowhere is this truism more pronounced and the stakes higher than in the budget-making process of our country.

Even the most prudent SA finance minister will sometimes be strong-armed by cabinet members or other vested interests into funding expensive, obsolete or simply wasteful programmes. In such instances costs are underestimated, benefits overestimated and risks downplayed to justify a policy, project or ideologically driven agenda...

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