27 February 2014

South Africa: Budget 2014 - Gordhan's Frank Story to Tell


It was not the election year Budget many thought it might be, neither was it designed to drum up the ANC's narrative of a "good story to tell".

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan used the last Budget of President Jacob Zuma's administration to provide a reality check about the state of the economy and what the South African state is able to do in a tough financial climate.

And while Gordhan might have been under pressure from his party and its labour ally Cosatu to steer towards "radical" economic change, this was not reflected in the Budget.

As Parliament adjourned following the presentation of the 2014 Budget on Wednesday, the first person to congratulate Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was his predecessor Trevor Manuel.

Manuel first high-fived Gordhan and then hugged him. If there was anyone in that House who could appreciate how difficult it was to present a well-rounded Budget in turbulent economic times, it would be Manuel.

Asked a few minutes later whether he would have delivered the same speech Gordhan had done, Manuel responded "Probably. Considering the climate, he did all he could."

While Gordhan's Budget was conservative and austere, his boss President Jacob Zuma seemed ...

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