The world is changing fast and to keep up you need local knowledge with global context.
Writing that headline got me thinking how the inexorable weight of constantly familiar media speculation dulls the senses – to the point that when “it” finally happens, journalists have prepared their readerships for the inevitable – almost doing Zuma’s job for him. Which of course reasonably presupposes that Msholozi actually gives a damn about the economy and what removing the most globally-respected member of his cabinet would mean. The common discourse is outlined below, all hung on the thread of Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas telling eNCA that they are “not indispensable” and “prepared for any eventuality”. Gordhan’s self-effacing protestation we can set no real store by. It’s both a truth and common political-speak for anyone who holds high office. However, when Jonas the whistleblower (on being offered the top job by the Guptas), says he hopes that Treasury’s institutional capacity will be retained, we’re reminded of the cascade of outrageous assaults on the country’s coffers by the Zuptoids, ranging from charging its chief protectors to playing political musical chairs with them. The Zuptoids of course, accused White Monopoly Capital of manipulating the markets to shed billions overnight in order to cast them in a bad light, further turning whatever lacklustre credibility they might have had to mud. While the markets may have been desensitized by the media to another Treasury leadership change, they’re more likely to see any replacement as further proof that our fiscal management has gone to hell in a handbasket. Nice one. Where’s Cyril? – Chris Bateman
by Arabile Gumede
(Bloomberg) – South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said he is “not indispensable” as he prepares to present the annual budget following almost a year of speculation that he might lose his job.
“We are just humble civil servants,” Gordhan said in an interview with broadcaster eNCA on Monday after being asked about rumors that he and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas may be replaced by President Jacob Zuma. Gordhan will give his full-year budget speech on Wednesday in Cape Town.
Speculation that Gordhan may be fired has been renewed by an announcement that the ruling party will install Brian Molefe, the former chief executive officer of the state power utility, as a lawmaker this week, possibly ahead of his appointment to cabinet. Gordhan has been at loggerheads with Zuma over the running of state companies and the affordability of nuclear power since shortly after the president was pressured to reappoint him to the position in December 2015 after a backlash caused by a decision to name Des van Rooyen, a then little-known lawmaker, as finance minister.
Jonas has said the Gupta family, who are friends of Zuma and in business with the president’s son, offered him the top finance ministry post in exchange for business concessions. The family denies the allegation. Jonas said in the same interview on Monday he is “ready for any eventuality” regarding his own role in the government.
“Treasury is an institution and ministers come and go,” he said. “We hope that the capacity embedded within the institution will be sustained.”