Finance minister Nhlanhla Nene announced the first increase in income taxes on individuals for the first time in 20 years and added a whopping 81c levy on a litre of petrol. While individuals will bear the brunt of government’s attempts to fix its finances, it seems unlikely that Nene will be able to contain runaway state spending. He also took his time to address the crisis at the South African Revenue Service (Sars), which has been plagued by an exodus of senior staff and serious allegations of misconduct. − Kristin Lindow, senior vice president at ratings agency Moody’s in a report on the country’s budget. Unless South Africa can improve government’s finances, further debt ratings downgrades to junk status are likely.