Eyebrows were raised when finance minister Tito Mboweni agreed he’d look into the possibility of adopting a debt ceiling in 2020 on securing a R70bn IMF loan. It seems South Africans’ scepticism was well founded. Last week the National Treasury rejected the DA’s Fiscal Responsibility Bill which proposes just this.

In arguing against the bill in parliament, Edgar Sishi, the acting head of the Treasury’s budget office, admitted that while “stronger steps” were needed to address SA’s fiscal imbalances, a debt ceiling just wasn’t the best way to do it. Rather, the focus should be on turning around state institutions, raising the efficiency of state spending, instituting credible leadership, and stamping out waste and corruption...

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