Exactly what gives will be answered when Finance Minister Tito Mboweni presents the Budget on Wednesday. Worst case scenario: Snafu*.
The easy bit is to recount the numbers: 0.4% economic growth in 2019, 38.7% joblessness on the broader definition that includes those so disheartened they've given up the search for work -- and consumer and business confidence in the doldrums regardless of what measure is used.
The scary bit is to recount some other numbers. A shortfall of several tens of billions of rand in estimated tax collection -- the October 2019 Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) put that number at R52.5-billion, or 4% short, and rising -- amid business failures, retrenchments and low wage increases. Billions of rand may fly SAA's way as the R5.5-billion for the business rescue process since 6 December 2019 will run out in early March 2020.
As much as the Budget is about numbers, it is much more about politics.
And the politics mean no to even a one percentage point hike to Value Added Tax (VAT). The blowback from the 2018 VAT hike to 15% was brutal, and with a municipal election in 2021 the governing ANC, which is looking to reverse two...