December 9 2015 has been immortalised in SA politics as the day we were all introduced to Des van Rooyen. Previously an ANC backbencher in parliament, Van Rooyen’s elevation to the finance ministry was yet another shuffle in an administration that had become used to instability.

While Jacob Zuma’s first cabinet had enjoyed what we now regard as stability as it managed to last from his inauguration in May 2009 until October 2010, the shuffle of December 2015 was the eighth and most contentious one. What we didn’t know then is that the first reshuffle of 2010, which saw the axing of Barbara Hogan in favour of Malusi Gigaba at public enterprises, was part of a long game whose effects are becoming more evident these days...

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