Trudi Makhaya Columnist

After the excesses and missed opportunities of the past decade comes a necessary performance of fiscal virtue. As expected, this is a tough budget that reins in the nation’s finances. Beyond the restoration job, does it provide instruments that will lift investment and growth? To be fair, as previous finance ministers have pointed out, the work of structural transformation goes beyond what the fiscal toolbox can deliver. For example, as this year’s African Development Bank economic outlook shows, employment in SA runs at almost half the pace of economic growth. To deliver the country from its unemployment nightmare requires changing the structure of the economy such that each percentage point increase in growth translates into more jobs. Macroeconomic stability is a hygiene factor, the solution lies in a deeper policy response. Despite these limits to fiscal policy on its own, the finance minister took some time to engage with the structural causes of the economy’s lacklustre perfor...

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