11 March 2014

South Africa: Trevor, the Man Who Put SA Into Gear


South African politics can move so quickly that some people may be forgiven for forgetting how important Trevor Manuel once was. Not to say he's not important now. Just that there was once a time when he was really the second-most important and powerful person in the country, when the rand appeared to quiver at his every word.

And when he was the financial face of the Mbeki government, the person who had to sell his macroeconomic policies to the western world and prove to them that South Africa was not going to follow the path of other African countries on our continent. We will miss him.

In 2008, just a few days after Gwede Mantashe's announcement that the ANC was going to recall Thabo Mbeki, I received a phone call. The person wanted to remain anonymous, and claimed that about half of the Cabinet was about to resign. In those heady days, anything was possible, and I was well ready to believe it. As the person went through a list of people, there was only really one name that mattered. Trevor Manuel's. His name was on the list. But I had two major problems. The first...

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