The government, guided by the ANC, does not have a culture of evidence-based policymaking. This is unfortunate. There have been several determined efforts to shift it. Yet we are going into a phase where economic policy needs to shift dramatically but the tool to do it — evidence — is blunter than ever.

Things have been getting worse. The spectacle of saving the doomed SAA, purely because the ANC decided it should be before the Covid-19 crisis, has done serious damage to the government’s fiscal outlook. Not because the R10.5bn payout to resuscitate the airline is that material in the R2-trillion to be spent this year, but because it damages the government’s position on the public service wage bill, which is material. ..

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