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This will be the year of politics in SA. This week, President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver his state of the nation address. There will be much heat and noise generated by that annual event, lately characterised by shouting, heckling and violence in the chamber. The budget will be delivered at the end of the month and after that campaigning for the national and provincial elections will ramp up.

Yet, this should not be the year of politics. It should be the year of economics. Our house is burning. I am surprised that not many people are pointing to Ramaphosa and reminding him, for the millionth time, that “it’s the economy, stupid”. The World Bank forecasts that SA’s economic growth will improve to 1.3% in 2019 from an estimated 0.9% in 2018. This new forecast is down from its June 2018 estimate of 1.8% growth. The bank forecasts a GDP growth rate of 3.4% in sub-Saharan Africa for 2019. You can see where I am going with this, of course. We are sub-par. We are useless. As if that’s not enough, things are not set for some sort of remarkable recovery. The bank projected SA’s economic growth at 1.7% in 2020. There are a few optimists still lurking about. GoldmanSachs’s Colin Coleman said in October 2018 that his bank expects SA’s economy to grow almost 3% in 2019. His prediction, wrote Reuters, was “more optimistic than the view held by economists polled by Reuters last month [...

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