The past few days have renewed the hope and confidence of millions of South Africans in their country, its institutions and future. First, our MPs elected a new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, enabling a constitutional transition from one leader to another. Then Ramaphosa opened parliament with an upbeat message that was a fitting tribute to Nelson Mandela in the year of the icon’s centenary. And this week finance minister Malusi Gigaba delivered a budget in support of the strong but achievable plans announced by Ramaphosa. What remains is for South Africans to join hands in ensuring that these positive statements translate into action and that the younger beneficiaries of social grants are quickly turned into salary earners. While the broad thrust of the budget is to be welcomed, we think Gigaba could have been bolder, in certain respects, to stabilise our public finances — especially by reining in expenditure, and addressing public debt and the plethora of troubled state-owned enterpr...

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