The need to protect the vulnerable has for several years now been a standard phrase in IMF documents discussing the restoration of public finances to sound health. The phrase featured in the recent IMF pronouncements on Ghana, a country that has defaulted on its debt, and sought IMF help, for the 17th time since independence in 1957. 

But SA seems deaf to the message. Government has for more than a decade taken the scalpel to its budget without consideration of how the cuts will affect the most vulnerable citizens — those who are most dependent on public services such as health and education. ..

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