South Africa: Despite Spectre of Debt Spiral, Mboweni Delivers a Determined Glass Half-Full Speech

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Finance Minister Tito Mboweni talked up hope, despite his grim Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement. Invoking 1994, when 'freedom was two weeks old' and Madiba stood in the House, Mboweni said: 'As we rose to that fiscal challenge then, so we will rise to this one.'

A hardy aloe stood at the speaker's podium of the National Assembly when Finance Minister Tito Mboweni delivered the 2020 Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) on Wednesday.

No cheer except for SAA as Tito Mboweni delivers spending cuts, public wage freeze and signals tax hikes

"Our aloe ferox is recovering," said Mboweni. "You are now well aware that the country's aloe ferox is drought resistant; it can survive the harshest of circumstances and can certainly withstand a pandemic."

And that recovery plan was the economic reconstruction and economic recovery programme President Cyril Ramaphosa launched at a joint parliamentary sitting just short of two weeks ago.

It was that plan to which Mboweni anchored his MTBPS speech in Parliament. Ramaphosa attended through a virtual link since he is in quarantine after attending a dinner where a guest had tested positive for Covid-19.

"Mr President, by putting all our efforts into implementing the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery...

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