ON THE MONEY
PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: Stop reinventing old policy
Working papers on policy reforms have been saying the same thing for decades
I hate new year’s resolutions. They invariably end up rapidly defunct (like doing “dry January” which ended for me this past Friday) or are improbable (I once tried to learn Arabic, I can now order falafel and that’s about it). Yet they still expose necessary truths by positing the start or end of something — so here goes for SA. Stop trying to invent new policy. Stop the never-ending hunt for a magical policy tree of new low-hanging fruit that are easy to implement at zero political cost. They don’t exist. The total menu of policy options in this reform restaurant is already on the table — from the radically collectivist to the libertarian laissez-faire. What SA needs to do is simply choose and implement with laser focus. One of the only policymakers who seems to be pushing this view is finance minister Tito Mboweni. His excoriation of circular policy debates on several occasions in the months before Christmas sounded almost radical for its uniqueness in the public discourse. He hi...