In the Polokwane celebrations after Jacob Zuma's ascension to the presidency of the governing party almost a decade ago, there was one particular statement, overheard at one of the many whisky-fuelled parties in the Limpopo capital, that has stuck with me: isikhathi sethu sokudla. Loosely translated: it is our time to eat. At the centre of the frustration was the Treasury which then just as now was a bit tight with the purse. A target was on the head of then finance minister Trevor Manuel, the minute Thabo Mbeki walked off that stage. But as markets and the general public had grown fond of and trusted the leadership of the Treasury, the new gang didn't immediately act against Manuel and the "class project" he represented. So it was no surprise that in Zuma's first cabinet in 2009, Manuel was shifted and given the task of developing the National Development Plan. In truth, his had been a long stint as finance minister and the fact that Pravin Gordhan, the erstwhile tax collector, wou...

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