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Gupta empire collapses as Zuma exits South African presidency

Gupta empire collapses as Zuma exits South African presidency

The new leadership aims to plug a revenue hole in its budget and fix its economy after nine years of mismanagement under the scandal-plagued Jacob Zuma who resigned last week.

It lifts the value-added tax to 15% from 14%-the first such increase in 25 years-and includes higher levies on fuel, alcohol and tobacco.

"The budget was probably enough to avoid another downgrade, at least for now", said John Ashbourne, Africa economist at Capital Economics in London.

The new spending plan contains tax increases for most South Africans, rather than concentrating the burden on the high earners and corporations, which can more easily shift earnings overseas.

On the eve of the shooting, Ramaphosa said in an email discussion between Lonmin and government officials that incidents of violence around the strike were "plainly dastardly criminal acts and must be characterised as such".

Peter Griffiths, a spokesperson for Moody's, said by email the company didn't have an immediate comment and Fitch's Peter Fitzpatrick resent a previous note in which it said the budget would be indicator of the direction of fiscal policy under Ramaphosa.

Investors, business leaders and rating agencies are watching closely for how Ramaphosa is going to deal with corruption and clean up cash-strapped state-owned enterprises.

The party said it would boycott Gigaba's Budget Speech on Wednesday if he's the one to deliver it.

The rand was at R11.7226 to the dollar from R11.6722. Mr. Gigaba said the government believes the economy grew 1% in 2017, up from its previous 0.7% forecast, and will expand 1.5% in 2018, 1.8% in 2019 and 2.1% in 2020.

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, whose position is uncertain now amid talk of an imminent reshuffle by Ramaphosa, sent shock waves through financial markets last October when he announced the projected revenue shortfall and flagged weak growth estimates and rising government debt. "The population was given a crash course in democracy, legal systems, the economy, state-owned companies and how safeguards failed us".

Locally, opposition parties have congratulated the 65-year-old Ramaphosa on his election in the National Assembly as a new President, but did not give him a free pass.

"The president ultimately has the prerogative over this issue", Gigaba told reporters before his speech.

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