Finance minister Tito Mboweni was in fine form delivering his budget speech on Wednesday, but the jovial mood in the National Assembly belied the grim numbers. And though the message of the Aloe feroxplant the minister brought along was meant to be about planting the seeds of the future, it was more bitter than sweet. SA is just beginning to total up the enormous cost of the years of state capture and corruption and damage done to key economic institutions such as Eskom and the SA Revenue Service (Sars) - and the budget reflected that in the Eskom bailout as well as in yet another revenue shortfall. The deficit and debt ratios didn't feature in Mboweni's well-crafted speech but they came in worse even than in October's medium-term budget, which had shown a sharp deterioration in SA's growth and fiscal outlooks. Revenue is now expected to come in more than R43bn short of last February's budget estimates, up from October's R27bn estimate, reflecting further efforts to fix the mess at ...

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