Hilary Joffe Columnist

When former finance minister Malusi Gigaba presented the medium-term budget a year ago it was more a train smash than a budget. Growth was way short of projections, tax collections over the next three years were expected to fall almost R200bn short, the national debt was going to keep climbing - but the minister offered no solutions. The response from rating agencies and the rand was swift and devastating. It was only in the February budget that the government began to undo the damage, taking advantage of Ramaphoria to revise up growth forecasts and implement tough tax and spending measures to get back on track towards stabilising debt, as it had long promised to do. As SA goes into this year's medium-term budget the political environment looks better, with a more growth- and investment-friendly president and market-friendly finance minister. Yet the economic environment is in many ways worse and the fiscal space far more constrained. Growth is much weaker - the economy sank into re...

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