This week’s national budget is likely to feature two new fixes for SA’s public debt problem — a new fiscal anchor and the Gold & Foreign Exchange Contingency Reserve Account (GFECRA) could help avert a debt crisis by slowing the growth of the national debt and lowering its cost. 

But unless SA can lift its economic growth rate and find political consensus on the big policy choices that are needed, neither can offer more than a temporary fix to a longer term, structural problem. Government debt, which is already over R5-trillion, is expected to exceed R6-trillion in the next two years, rising from about 75% of the size of the economy to over 77%, whereas Treasury projected in November it would stabilise by 2026. ..

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