Hanging on for dear life - President Jacob Zuma. (Gianluigi Guercia, AFP) ~ AFP
Cape Town - The extended leadership standoff between Jacob Zuma and the ANC national executive committee now threatens the legitimacy of the budget due on February 21.
A budget, if it is to be credible, requires a stable political regime and a fully constituted political process. Should this impasse extend into next week, the forthcoming budget will lose its political credibility.
And, given the urgent need to address South Africa's economic plight, this poses renewed worries for investor confidence. With urgent decisions to be made on mechanisms to rein in revenue and debt management options as well as a broad range of policy and administrative actions to be addressed, a stable political resolution is therefore now urgently needed.
Should this not be forthcoming, the budget could become an 'emergency budget' which may just cover some bare essentials, leaving the broader issues for a later date.
We are entering a dangerous phase at a time when the country can least afford it. While the State of the Nation Address can be more generic, it's the budget that cuts to the heart of the economic imperatives facing the country. It is a specific and statistical intervention to restore economic balance.
Every effort now needs to be made to save this process from further delay.
* Daniel Silke is director of the Political Futures Consultancy and is a noted keynote speaker and commentator. Views expressed are his own. Follow him on Twitter at @DanielSilke or visit his website.