Enoch Godongwana called this budget one of trade-offs. He is right. But let’s be clear as to what exactly has been traded. Amid undeniable economic pressures and uncertainties, the finance minister has opted to divert money from the poor majority, to give to those already doing comparatively well.

Despite much being made of nominal increases in expenditure, in reality, when adjusted for inflation, spending has been slashed across public services and social security. Over the next three years, the government will spend R162bn less on service provision (“non-interest expenditure”) than if allocations had risen in line with inflation. This is a real decrease (of 2.65%) across items such as health, education, public services, social grants and community development...

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