SA's Covid economic support package is one of the largest in the developing world, finance minister Tito Mboweni reminded us as he tabled his emergency budget on Wednesday. "It directs R500bn straight at the problem." Well, yes and no. A meaningful sum of money has indeed gone straight into the economy, or will do in coming months. But it's not even close to R500bn. Much of what has been promised has yet to be delivered, or even designed. And as the budget numbers hint, much of it hasn't even been budgeted for. This is likely to make Mboweni's all but impossible task of slashing government spending even more impossible.

It's highlighted, yet again, just how dysfunctional are large parts of the machinery of government. But it's also a reminder of how useful in a crisis are the public and private institutions that do work...

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