Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba's first budget this week will be fraught with uncertainty as the ANC's elective conference in December, a projected R40-billion shortfall in revenue and concerns over how state-owned enterprises will be funded hang like millstones around his neck. If Gigaba survives politically to present the medium-term budget policy statement on Wednesday, it will be his first opportunity to present his vision for South Africa's fiscal policy through to 2021. Ratings agencies, which are due to review the government's debt ratings next month, are expected to watch this budget closely ahead of a potential downgrade in mid-2018. Gina Schoeman, South Africa economist at Citibank, said this week: "We all know what a mess fiscal policy is in, but it doesn't mean it's all going to fall off a cliff right now. The February budget is ultimately the most important next step. The Finance Ministry will only present what they are comfortable with." Schoeman said Gigaba wanted to h...

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