Five years ago to the day, Pravin Gordhan presented his budget. In the wake of the “weekend special” debacle of December 2015 capital markets were jittery, with yields on 10-year government bonds peaking at just more than 10%. In March 2020 yields breached the 12% mark. Even in 2016 debt service costs (at 12c of every rand spent) were a big concern.

This year the debt management strategy was the element of finance minister Tito Mboweni’s speech that pundits and fund managers watched most closely. In sum, it is clear that the aggressive debt reduction plan remains on the agenda...

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