The COVID‑19 crisis has weakened an already fragile economy. South Africa’s growth underperformed during the past decade: GDP per capita was already lower in 2019 than in 2008. Unemployment remains high, at around 35%, and youth unemployment even exceeds 50%. In the meantime, spending pressures are mounting to close the financing gap in health, infrastructure and higher education. To finance those needs while putting public finances on a more sustainable path, which is key to restore confidence, spending efficiency should improve and be accompanied with increased government tax revenues.