Analysis  >  Friday Briefing: SA's self-imposed economic crisis

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Rushing headlong into the fiscal abyss? 

National Treasury has been warning us for years: our debt-to-GDP ratio is growing, we're running a problematic current account deficit, state-owned companies are a drag on the economy and our bloated public service wage bill needs to be trimmed. We're running out of money, and fast.

But while the technocrats were warning government that urgent structural reform is needed, the politicians were engaged in power struggles, opting to focus on power grabs and securing access to rich patronage networks for cronies. The state capture years not only bankrupted the fiscus but left us bereft of proper policy making processes and decision-making ability. 

Now the question is being asked: how long before decisions are made for us? Fin24's Ferial Haffajee investigates the possibility of South Africa being forced to go to the International Monetary Fund – and finds all might not be lost. Analyst Ayabulela Dlakavu explains why an IMF bail-out might not be a bad thing. Further afield Mpumelelo Mkhabela looks at how the ANC caucus can see to it that South Africa once again gets a fit and proper public protector.

Have a good weekend,

Pieter du Toit  

Assistant editor: In-depth news

Ferial Haffajee

Despite the IMF telling the Bureau for Economic Research in South Africa last week that the country has not requested nor does it need a bail-out, the rumours persist. Reports suggest that investors like (Remgro chairman) Johann Rupert who has pushed the IMF line and business leaders like Mcebisi Jonas who has done the same may be using the spectre of a bail out to force the government to get a move on economic reforms. If anything, the IMF presentation outlook on South Africa may even be more disappointing than a bail-out.


Financial data analysis graph over world map. Hori

Why an IMF intervention might not be a bad thing for South Africa

Ayabulela Dlakavu

Marred by ideological and careerist factionalism, the ANC appears incapable of making sound economic policies. In the absence of a credible opposition party with sufficient electoral power to challenge the ANC, perhaps the IMF is best placed to help the ANC to discover 21st century economic consciousness.


The caucus is a crucial informal structure that keeps the ANC united on contentious issues in the parliamentary process. It serves as a vital link between the political directive of the governing party in Luthuli House and the complex workings of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces that requires lobbying and coaxing political opponents.Now, the ANC caucus will for the first time since the sixth Parliament was inaugurated, deliberate on an issue that has far-reaching implications for our constitutional democracy: the removal from office of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.


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