Tim Cohen Senior editor: Business Day

Tito Mboweni has a way. He meanders, he circles. He reflects and talks colloquially about something in his personal experience. It’s difficult to know where he is going or where he stands. And then he hits you with a very specific statement or decision. The Mboweni way was very much on display at the traditional media conference before delivering the medium-term budget policy statement. He was grilled, for example, on what he would say if he were asked by the president how many people should be in his cabinet. He meandered. He spoke about “belt tightening”, and how he would suggest things to the president while viewing cattle. The collective gathering could easily have thought he was well on his way to ducking the question, a technique not unknown to politicians. But then he snapped into a direct response. “If he asks me about the size of the cabinet, I would say preferably not more than 25. China is a big economy, I think they have 25, or is it 35? “We have no politically understan...

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