South Africa: Rip SA Express and MTBPS?


Finance Minister Tito Mboweni declared himself 'no Father Christmas' during the MTBPS briefing. He has opened a discussion about the viability of the MTBPS and it looks increasingly likely that his wish to offload some of the state's airline assets will materialise. Times are tough, the 'family is in trouble' so a rebalancing of the government's portfolio is in the offing. Now, this is no longer a question of 'if', but 'when'.

The medium-term budget policy statement (MTBPS) is done.

Thankfully, Moody's Investors Service responded by only changing South Africa's outlook to negative and left the country's sovereign credit rating untouched.

We must be grateful for small mercies.

The dust has settled on the MTBPS and the market has done its thing. But there are two key messages from Finance Minister Tito Mboweni's package of presentations that got little to no traction, which warrant revisiting.

The one is Mboweni's questioning of the efficacy of the MTBPS itself. The other is the finance minister's palpable irritation at the insistence on hanging on to South African Airways (SAA).

It was hard not to notice how the minister's speech and the accompanying documentation read like a eulogy to the MTBPS. Mboweni took South...

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