Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan will deliver the national budget on Wednesday in the most extraordinary circumstances, both nationally and internationally. Normally, the process of revealing the budget constitutes a feast for the technically minded. For economists, it forms a crucial part of the delicate art of setting down the complex levers of economic forecasting. For tax experts, it reveals the precise nature and dimensions of what will be owed by citizens to the state. For the financial markets, it defines an important part of the equation between buyers and sellers. But this time, it’s different. Parliament is likely to swear in a new member, former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe, sometime in the near future. It’s hard to imagine a situation more poised. Gordhan could well be witnessing the arrival of his successor then, after this is gazetted and Molefe arrives in Parliament. This underlines why this budget, in a larger sense, is so unusual and distracted. Whatever Gordhan says will ...

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