The greatest challenge faced by our ANC-led government since our democracy came into being in 1994 has been to build an inclusive economy and, more importantly, to kick-start a chain of events that allows prosperity to filter down to all. Unfortunately, this ideal has been through some trying times. We have been buffeted by macroeconomic headwinds and a host of political factors, including credit-rating downgrades and allegations of state capture. It is an uncomfortable truth that the emerging market in SA is highly exposed to economic shocks and setbacks, and it generally lacks the sustainable buffer of financial security to hedge the effect of these fluctuations. The Momentum/Unisa consumer financial vulnerability index shows that consumers are becoming more financially vulnerable. The four components of the index — income, expenditure, saving and debt servicing — worsened for a second consecutive quarter last year. Government and its policies remain the primary gatekeepers when i...

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