South Africa: Budget 2018 - High Expectations of Ramaphosa's Administration May Be Taxing for Ordinary South Africans

analysis

President Cyril Ramaphosa's State of the Nation Address was well-received, but his administration's first real challenge will be how it balances the books as Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba tables the national Budget on Wednesday. Spoiler alert: It's not going to be easy.

South Africa's new president has proven a slick orator in his first week. On Tuesday, replying to the State of the Nation Address (SONA) debate in Parliament, he deftly balanced criticism from opposition parties and the public while encouraging citizens to work towards a common goal. President Jacob Zuma set the lowest of bars and in comparison, it's easy for Ramaphosa to shine.

His government will make its first big move on Wednesday as the country's lame-duck finance minister tables the national Budget, defined less by rhetoric than facts and figures. The document will be defined by Zuma's disastrous economic legacy and although it could cement the idea that Ramaphosa's election will lead to an economic turnaround, tax increases or expenditure cuts on service delivery, or both, are likely.

South Africa's economic growth was predicted to rise over the next few years - if insufficiently - even before Zuma's resignation, and the Budget takes place...

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