Where President Cyril Ramaphosa is reluctant to tread, finance minister Tito Mboweni drags him along nonetheless. On Wednesday during his budget speech, Mboweni did what had to be done and what the president should have done a year ago: draw a line in the sand on government wages, even if it sparks a war with trade unions.

In all, Mboweni said he planned to slash R261bn from the government’s spending bill — but the thorny part of this is that it entails a R160bn cut in the salary bill for civil servants...

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