On October 9, President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed Tito Mboweni as SA's new finance minister. Mboweni's experience in the areas of central banking, economic policy and governance makes him suitably qualified for the job. Just as well, because his task is an unenviable one: tighten fiscal policy even further to prevent the state's already worryingly high debt load from escalating, amid various forms of new - and old - fiscal constraints. So, will he be able to deliver on his mandate? The answer will be clearer after he has presented the medium-term budget policy statement on October 24. Unfortunately, Mboweni faces an even more challenging landscape than the one mapped by Treasury in February. This was when it tabled a budget based on GDP growth accelerating from 1.3% in 2017/18 to 1.5% in 2018/19, and 1.9% in 2019/20. Despite this projected revival, Treasury still had to introduce new revenue measures to raise R36bn more, by increasing VAT and other taxes. All this while simultaneous...

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