For all of finance minister Enoch Godongwana’s hard-talking bluster of late, he has trodden a careful line with a medium-term budget that has seemingly reassured markets that fiscal discipline still exists at the National Treasury while making concessions to anxious colleagues in the cabinet and in the ANC concerning deteriorating social conditions and entitled government workers.

Walking a tightrope is one thing, but walking a tightrope over a cliff is another. To a degree, the minister is to be applauded for holding it all together, but it is likely he is aware that while this medium-term budget feels credible, there is a small window of opportunity for the government to fix the structural issues that have blasted R57bn off the revenue line...

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