Finance minister Tito Mboweni. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER
Finance minister Tito Mboweni. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER

The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) shares Busi Mavuso’s view that the cabinet should back several aspects of the Treasury’s growth plan (Cabinet Must Forget Squabbles and Back Mboweni Plan, September 4). 

Such backing would, however, require substantial policy reversals in areas that range from labour law to draft expropriation legislation, the proposed National Health Insurance (NHI), and the role of state-owned companies in the economy.

Yet in each of these areas the cabinet has set off in precisely the opposite direction to that advised by the Treasury. In each instance the direction chosen by the cabinet has, in addition, won the public support of President Cyril Ramaphosa. 

The Treasury has perhaps cleverly forced the hand of cabinet ministers to take sides — reformers on the one hand versus statist ideologues on the other — in what amounts to a clash of the balance of ideology in the government. 

The extent to which the Treasury’s advice is adopted and put into action will be a useful indicator of that balance, and hence the longer-term prospects of meaningful policy reform. 

Dr Frans Cronjé
Institute of Race Relations