Hilary Joffe Columnist

Old new Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene has made it clear that he only took the job because President Cyril Ramaphosa twisted his arm. Nene, it seems, would rather have carried on helping out in his wife’s market garden and enjoying the board posts at Allan Gray and Thebe Investment Corporation to which he was appointed after he was so unceremoniously fired from the finance ministry more than two years ago. And who would blame him? Nene’s reappointment might have come as something of a surprise, but it has been welcomed by the markets. It will be seen by many not only as a strong appointment in itself, because of Nene’s depth of experience and technical competence as well as his unquestioned integrity, but also as one that is an endorsement of the Treasury, opening the way for it to return to the way it used to be. But Nene knows he is taking on much harder challenges than those he left and that he is walking into some big battles. Over those two years, the economic growth rate has a...

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