Various State assets being identified for disposal as Gigaba drops deficit and debt bombshells

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba confirmed the worst in his maiden Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS), revealing serious fiscal slippages amid bail-outs of State-owned companies (SOCs), a worryingly sharp deterioration in revenue collections, a material downward revision to the country’s growth outlook and a massive spike in outlook for the country’s peak debt and debt-servicing costs. The consolidated Budget deficit would widen to 4.3% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017/18, against the 2017 Budget target of 3.1% of GDP, announced by Gigaba’s highly respected predecessor, Pravin Gordhan, whose removal from Cabinet in March precipitated a downgrade in South Africa’s credit rating to junk.