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Income taxes raised for the first time in 20 years

The finance minister’s first budget speech painted a bleak picture of the state of the country's finances.

Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene delivered his 2015 Budget Speech in Cape Town on 25 February 2015. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene has raised personal income tax for the first time in 20 years.

Nene's first Budget Speech painted a bleak picture of the state of the country's finances and he insisted that a raise in taxes could no longer be postponed.

"Today's budget is constrained by the need to consolidate our public finances, in the context of slower growth and rising debt."

Nene told journalists on Wednesday that the one percent tax hike to be imposed on salaries of just under R182,000 a year was small, and an effort to limit more damage to the economy.

Pensions and social grants will increase by between R30 and R60 and there's some tax relief for small businesses.

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