What Gigaba delivered was pretty much in line with these expectations, with VAT increasing to 15%, and ad valorem excise duties, estate taxes and donations taxes also hiked.
Al Jazeera's Fahmida Miller has more from Johannesburg. Analysts forecast this year's growth will jump to 1.8 percent.
"Agencies will be watching closely over the next three to six months to see how policies addressing job creation, poverty and economic transformation are implemented", he warns.
It is nonsense, as some economists have suggested, that zero-rating and the like protects poor people from the effect of Value-Added Tax increases.
In the 2018 Budget, the combination of higher GDP growth, a narrower deficit, a stronger currency and lower borrowing rates results in an improved debt-to-GDP outlook, with debt stabilising at 56.2 per cent of GDP in 2022/23, but still above the February 2017 budget projections.
The tax burden of higher-income households will be further increased owing to increases in taxes associated with wealthy individuals.
Lindsey Vonn misses the podium
In the months leading up to the race, Vonn has been the subject of some online vitriol for her comments regarding President Trump. Vonn had been skiing in honor of her grandfather while in PeyongChang, and had his initials written in the side of her helmet.
Community and membership-based organisation Equal Education said the budget "places a disproportionate burden on the poor, in order to plug a shortfall that is a effect of the destruction of state institutions, including the South African Revenue Service (Sars)".
In a media statement the EFF slams Gigaba's budget as a commitment to the protection of capitalist accumulation, which has not led to meaningful investments over the past 24 years.
He further observes that in terms of budget allocation, social development was fastest growing expense item, followed by interest repayments on debt.
Gigaba also announced R26.4-billion in expenditure cuts for this financial year while allocating R12.4-billion for fee-free higher education in 2018/19.
The community organisation however criticised the slashing of basic education funding, saying "the crises in our schooling system - early grade reading proficiency, infrastructure, safety, and scholar transport - means that attention to spending on basic education, and implementation of programmes should increase annually, especially until historic backlogs are remedied".
The rand has advanced 12% since Cyril Ramaphosa was elected as leader of the ANC in December, setting him on a path to become the country's president when Jacob Zuma resigned last week.