With the 2021 national budget looming on February 24, the key considerations are what finance minister Tito Mboweni can do to restore SA’s fiscal credibility, what he must avoid doing at all costs, and what more he can do to bolster the flagging economy.

Since last year’s October medium-term budget there has been more bad news than good on the economy. First the good news. Most noteworthy was the Labour Appeal Court’s ruling vindicating the Treasury’s refusal to pay public sector wage increases in 2020 on unaffordability grounds. This should strengthen its hand as it squares up to trade unions over its proposed three-year wage freeze, the linchpin of SA’s R300bn fiscal consolidation plan...

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