About a minute or two after he stepped up to the podium in parliament to deliver his budget speech, finance minister Malusi Gigaba turned to President Cyril Ramaphosa and asked: "How long have I got?" The question wasn’t a joke, even though Gigaba was far more assured this week than he was last October, when he delivered the medium-term budget policy statement. The finance minister is a man under enormous political pressure. His apparent associations with the thieving Gupta family were just too many and too frequent. His sweeping away of the boards of the state’s biggest companies in June 2011, and their replacement with many people who turned out to be proxies of the Gupta family, is indisputable. This was, after all, the formal start of the state capture project. The only question is whether or not Gigaba knew at the time that they were proxies for the Guptas, or whether then-president Jacob Zuma had given him an instruction to make those appointments. Evidently Gigaba hit Google ...

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