Anyone who thinks the "R" word is a thing of the past might want to look at the scenarios for the economy sketched in last week's Budget Review. The worst-case scenario has SA in recession for the next two years, with budgetary woes and an inability to address Eskom's financial and operational crises causing a fiscal crisis and a ratings downgrade. The next-worst scenario is hardly better - near-zero economic growth as Eskom load-shedding stretches out over 18 months and exports decline. Bleak as they are, these are not outlandish scenarios - they seem distinctly possible if the government cannot act fast (18 months of load-shedding is what happened in 2014/2015, for example). And the risk is that if they materialise, government finances could end up in even worse shape than last week's budget numbers forecast. On the upside, the best-case scenario has the economy growing at just over 2% this year, rising to just under 3% in two years' time, as "short-term reforms outlined in the 20...

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