The chatter and the debate about the now-famous Gold and Foreign Exchange Contingency Reserve Account (GFECRA) has been rolling back and forth for months, so it will surprise nobody that the Treasury and the Reserve Bank have come to an arrangement by which management of the account can be “reformed”, as finance minister Enoch Godongwana said in his speech, allowing the Bank to “change the settlement methodology”, according to Treasury director-general Duncan Pieterse.

By creating an instrument that allows the Treasury to access the hitherto unrealised gains on the rand value of foreign reserves held on the books of the Reserve Bank, all thanks to the years-long decline of the currency, the minister’s budget has created R150bn of unexpected headroom in a space we are so used to calling “constrained”, that the quest for literary variety has had us reaching for the thesaurus...

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