This week’s budget speech should provide for surprisingly better headlines about the short-term state of the fiscus compared to previous expectations as higher growth from the bullish commodity markets boosts state coffers, making it unlikely that finance minister Tito Mboweni will have to increase taxes.  

But despite the better headline numbers as investors talk about the possibility of a return of the super commodity cycle, the hippo’s mouth is still wide open, even if slightly less than expected — and will remain so. We need to address the widening trajectory between revenue and expenditure. Structural economic reform to drive higher levels of growth is the only sustainable long-term solution.              ..

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