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Vol 41 No 5

Published 3rd March 2000

South Africa

Betting on the market

Finance Minister Manuel wins praise for his business budget but joblessness is growing

Income taxes and the budget deficit are down, defence spending is up. That conservative combination in Finance Minister Trevor Manuel's budget on 23 February won plaudits from business, parliamentarians and even trade unionists, and only minor budget-bashing from non-governmental organisations and left-wing activists. For now, the Manuel-Thabo Mbeki consensus on economic strategy rules. The markets have grown to like the African National Congress government much more than its National Party predecessor, whose legacy of apartheid profligacy, foreign exchange controls, high interest rates and unskilled workers still haunts Pretoria's policy-makers.

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