Regular readers of this column will know that I am a great fan of finance minister Enoch Godongwana. I like that guy. He has been a stand-up guy, warts and all, since his days at the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa in the 1990s. I credit him as one of the main unheralded heroes — alongside people such as Pravin Gordhan and Mcebisi Jonas — inside the ANC who stopped the pathologically corrupt Jacob Zuma administration from completely collapsing South Africa in the 2010s. He was key in stopping many of Zuma’s suicidal policy propositions, such as nationalising the Reserve Bank.

But, my word, what a weak, cowardly, visionless and entirely leadership-free budget Godongwana delivered on Wednesday. We are a country in crisis, yet nowhere in the budget did Godongwana and his cabinet display any indication that they are at one with South Africans — who despair at the ailing economy and the patronage politics that bedevil the country — and that he has a plan to stop the...

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