I felt a bit sorry for Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba on Wednesday. He had to present the worst national budget in recent memory - and one that he did not even know was his to deliver until a few days before. Gigaba strutted in to the National Treasury last year without a clue about what awaited him.Listening to him explain at a pre-budget media briefing why he thought an increase in the VAT rate would not impact much on the poor, it was apparent how overwhelmed Gigaba still was. His deputy, Sfiso Buthelezi, was even worse. His attempt to justify the force-feeding of former president Jacob Zuma's fee-free higher education plan to South Africans was excruciating, mostly because he has no appreciation of the bigger impact of the announcement, let alone the budgeting process. Apart from Gigaba and Buthelezi being compromised by corruption allegations, they are ill-suited to the finance ministry because their understanding of their portfolio is so superficial. They seem to think the com...

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