Earlier this week, in advance of Friday’s announcement on Moody’s credit assessment of SA, trade & industry minister Rob Davies addressed the Cape Town Press Club. His subject? “How government intends to place the economy on the road to recovery.” Davies has been at the helm of the department of trade & industry for a decade. His long term in office presumably represents a post-Polokwane payback to the SA Communist Party (SACP), whose central committee Davies has long graced. He has reached the age of 70 and will not be returning to parliament after the May elections. His departure feels like the end of an era. Which era remains open to question: some say the Jacob Zuma period; others the 1960s; still others, more unfairly, the Soviet Union of the 1930s. Thabo Mbeki was removed from the presidency by a leftist coalition just as pro-market economic theology was called into question by the global financial crisis. This conjuncture resulted in an all-too-hasty resurgence of the develop...

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