The budget will be a balancing act. Reining in spending and raising taxes will usher in a few years of pain – not very heavy pain, but unavoidable pain – and the finance minister will need to find a way to spread it among as many groups as possible without causing anger or resentment.
The way forward for South Africa is to boost competition and promote regional trade integration. These are critical for restarting the nation's idling export engine to bolster growth, which in turn will help to create jobs and cut poverty.
For neutral observers of South Africa’s relatively new and unfolding democracy, the likely creation of a new party is excellent news, creating the prospect of a more strongly contested election and a potential break-up of the ice-flows that have characterised the country’s political scene, writes Tim Cohen.