The world is changing fast and to keep up you need local knowledge with global context.
With the re-instatement of Pravin Gordhan having stabilised the Rand and prices of SA financial assets, the public attention has moved along to Thursday’s State of the Nation speech and next week’s National Budget. For the moment, the spotlight has moved away from former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene, who lost his job by resisting crony patronage. Now unemployed after resigning as an ANC MP last week, Nene is waiting to take on a supposed critical position at the African unit of the Brics Development Bank. But this much publicised political initiative is taking an awful long time to get off the ground. With the easy money tide having receded, the obvious question now is where the institution will get its funding. Russia and Brazil are in even worse financial straits than cash-strapped SA and India has massive internal priorities requiring every cent at its disposal. And China, the once obvious benefactor, is struggling to cope with moving its economy from exports to a domestic focus; from investment to consumption; and from manufacturing to service – a triple challenge that is eating away at its rapidly declining reserves. President Jacob Zuma says the reason for replacing Nene was to propose him for a position which former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel said was “only 15%” of his previous responsibility. There is much Zuma needs to explain in his SONA including why, two months later, the able Finance Minister is twiddling his thumbs at home. Indeed, it is now a moot point whether Nene will ever have a proper job to do there. With all of the Brics hitting serious cash flow issues, the last thing their Treasuries will be supporting right now is funding a new African unit of their apparent Development Bank. So if its funding will have to come from Pretoria, why is it needed at all when there is already the Midrand-based Development Bank of SA and the African Development Bank in Abidjan. – Alec Hogg
By Matthew le Cordeur
Cyril Ramaphosa: The Audio Biography
Listen to the story of Cyril Ramaphosa's rise to presidential power, narrated by our very own Alec Hogg.