Jul 21 2009

Viva, mainstream economic policy, viva!

Published by at 9:07 am under Opinion,Top Stories

Gill Marcus as governor of the SA Reservebank is the best thing that could have happened to South African economic policy. The voices of reason have won the day (yet again). And South African economic policy might (after all) NOT be facing a “jump to the left”.

These were my first reactions to the news of last weekend.

This member of the Three Musketeers (read more about the trio’s fights and victories here) is hard-working, hard as nails, hard-assed, hard on inclusive decisionmaking, hard to get off her stride, hard on mainstream economic policy (of the kind which is internationally acceptable), hard on all the good virtues (honesty, straight-talking, fairness etc.), hard on the trade unions (when she must be) and hard on central bank theory.

Technically speaking, she’ll make an excellent governor. Interpersonally speaking, I’m sure she won’t ever be as arrogant as Tito (has always been – even before 1994 he came over as very arrogant at press conferences; as minister of labour he was very arrogant and as governor (I gathered from reports – here I can’t speak as a witness) he became extremely “know-all”, bordering on impossible, in his later years.

But, there’s another reason why the Gill appointment makes me feel so good: She is the first ever white appointment by the ANC-lead government to a senior position, if one assumes that finance minister Liebenberg was forced onto the ANC by circumstance, that Trevor Manuel is not white, and that the posts of trade and industry and director-general of finance are not “senior positions”.

The trade union Cosatu is putting a brave face on the news, saying they welcome Gill and look forward to working with her. But, the reality is: She has already been instrumental in their “downfall” once, namely in 1996 when she co-authored the GEAR document, which infuriated Cosatu and led to the withdrawal of its representative from parliament in the days after the document’s release.

My bet is, she won’t give in to unreasonable Cosatu demands (a higher inflation target might be a reasonable demand).

Long live the Three Musketeers! Viva, mainstream economic policy in SA, viva!

One response so far

One Response to “Viva, mainstream economic policy, viva!”

  1. adminon 25 Sep 2009 at 12:14 pm

    One of the Musketeers is now officially among the Top 10 Most Influential Businesswomen in the World. Read here.

    Interesting how fortunes change over time…

    I’m referring to Trevor Manuel’s career. When I was reporting from parliament in 1994 – 1998, he was the leader of the Three Musketeers (among many things). Today he has a non-job (if Greta is to be believed) and Maria is the “most powerful” of the three, with Gill Marcus in a close second position and Trevor….well, way back in third place.

    My warning to Trevor (I can do this, because I have firsthand experience of these things): Pasop, bro. What has happened to you in the circle of the Three Musketeers, has the potential to impact your marriage negatively.


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