In July, finance minister Tito Mboweni undertook to reveal the precise budget cuts and economic reforms required to get SA’s debt ratio to stabilise at below 90% when he unveils the medium-term budget, scheduled for late October.

Since then the minister has sent out tough technical guidelines to all national departments and public entities. In these he exhorts them to have "no holy cows" and offer no automatic protection to any spending items to achieve the R230bn in cuts required over the next two fiscal years to stabilise public debt.

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