It is a sign of the instability in the government and in ANC politics that we now have a fifth finance minister in as many years. Only a decade ago the Treasury was run by the world’s second-longest serving finance minister in the person of Trevor Manuel and was held up as a beacon of consistency and excellence. The contrast shows just how much work incoming minister Tito Mboweni has ahead of him in rebuilding the institutional strength and capacity of the Treasury. Apart from the instability in the political leadership, the Treasury has been quite severely hollowed out by an exodus of skilled people over the past five years. While good and dedicated officials do remain, it is not unfair to say that the organisation is a shadow of its former self. The appointment of Mboweni is a good one in many respects. As a former governor of the SA Reserve Bank, he has a solid reputation in the global financial world; he understands economics well and is experienced in economic management.

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