What a mess. If anything lays bare the woeful incapacity that is the SA state, it has to be the handling of the 2018 public sector wage deal. The wage bill is at the heart of the state’s financial troubles and the National Treasury, under finance minister Tito Mboweni, and the department of public service & administration, under Senzo Mchunu, have made an absolute mess of it.

A combination of recklessness and arrogance by the Treasury and a retreat from a contentious process that Mchunu’s department was meant to own culminated in Wednesday’s court battle over the implementation of the last leg of the 2018 wage deal — a pay hike the government can no longer afford...

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