For President Cyril Ramaphosa to make good on his promise to improve SA’s economic performance he and his party will have to take a long, hard look at the damage inflicted on the Treasury in the past five years. The Treasury is a creature of statute — its role and function are legislated and constitutionally enshrined. Finance minister Tito Mboweni’s harking back this week to the tenure of a predecessor, Trevor Manuel, was a stark reminder of just how the attitude inside the ANC and ANC-led government towards the Treasury has deteriorated since the Mandela era. Mboweni spoke of Manuel handing out plums in the house, to signify a time of plenty. It was also a time when the Treasury drove economic policy and, moreover, it was a time when the finance minister still commanded respect and his warnings were heeded. Testimony before the commission of inquiry into state capture chaired by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo this week spelled out the intense intra-governmental battle over the...

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