Tag Archive 'Trevor Manuel'

Jun 07 2009

The coming Manuel/Cosatu clash: A rejoinder

Published by under Opinion,Top Stories

I’ve written a lot lately about the danger emanating from Cosatu for South Africa and its citizens. In my last article on the topic I suggested a showdown was looming between Cosatu and Trevor Manuel, which might lead to the end of Manuel (if Jacob Zuma doesn’t back him).

Here is yet another indication that my “scenario” for South Africa might still turn out to be spot-on.

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May 17 2009

Cosatu/Vodacom: The wake-up call

Published by under More News,Opinion

Cosatu’s attempt to stop the Vodacom listing (read here), is the clearest sign yet that there has, in fact, been a “jump to the left” under the Zuma government.

This is no “once-off act” by Cosatu; no act without context. No, this is the new, confident, Zuma-backed Cosatu flexing its muscles. And this is a taste of things to come.

I welcome the Vodacom/Cosatu debacle for two reasons: At long last the SA media, economists and community at large will now wake up to what the SA economy has on its hands – a very dangerous situation for the economic welfare of the community at large. 

Let the fun begin. First up, will be a drop in the rand. Then, well. We’ll have to wait and see. Maybe, a stand-off between Trevor Manuel and Cosatu? And Trevor’s resignation. Not impossible at all.

This was the wake-up call….the first good thing about the Vodacom/Cosatu debacle. The other good thing about it: The debacle might force Jacob Zuma to show his hand much sooner than many might have expected, ie. show whether he is going to be a president for all in SA, or only a section of the community.

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May 11 2009

Zumanomics: A (disguised) shuffle to the left

Published by under Opinion,Top Stories

The parallels between what’s happening now and what happened in the period 1994 to 1996 are heaping. And the result will be the same: Growing uncertainty about the economic policy intentions of the South African government, to the point where it starts weighing on the rand.   [Read on]

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May 07 2009

Getting ready for the “jump to the left”

Published by under Opinion,Top Stories

Media reports about a Commission of Economic Policy being planned in the Office of the President, are worrying. The mooted Commission is an attempt of trade union Cosatu and the SA Communist Party (SACP) to wrestle control over the money purse from the Ministry and Department of Finance. As described by The Economist in this article. [Read on]

One response so far

Mar 25 2009

Foul play! I can’t vote!

Published by under Opinion,Top Stories

I’m a SA citizen* living in Germany, where I can’t vote in any German elections. But, that’s OK, because I can vote in SA elections…or that’s what I thought until a few minutes ago. [Read on]

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Dec 13 2008

Why I’m so negative on the rand – Part IV

Published by under More News,Opinion

This article was first posted to my old blog on 10/12/2007. I’m republishing it here as part of the on-going migration to my new blog. 

I’ve alluded to the “frail-Mandela factor”, the “populist-Zuma factor” and the “let’s-get-rid-of-Trevor-Manuel factor” as grounds for being bearish on the rand in the next 12 months. There are more reasons for being negative, of which the most important is the “let’s-get-rid-of-Mboweni factor”. This factor has the potential to destabilise the rand in the coming months like no other. 

(And strangely, to date the SA media have hardly mentioned it….) 

Tito Mboweni has been president of the SA Reservebank (central bank) since 1999 and has done an excellent job protecting the value of the rand, which is the primary goal of the central bank according to section 224 of the new Constitution of South Africa. 

The president of the SA Reservebank is appointed by the president of the national government for a 5 year period. Mboweni’s second 5-year term will come to an end in 2009, but the decision about the renewal of his contract for another 5-year period will most certainly have to be made already in 2008 – while Mbeki is still in the chair. 

How this decision is made and who is appointed as president of the SA Reservebank for the period 2009 – 2014 could be a major destabilising factor for the rand throughout 2008 – if it’s not handled carefully. 

For instance, if Zuma is selected as ANC president in the next few weeks and the appointment of the president of the SA Reservebank is NOT made by Mbeki next year, but postponed until Zuma is in the chair, this will make the forex markets nervous no end. 

And then, of course, there is the scenario where he is not appointed again, but a “more populist” candidate is appointed instead. Now, that would really cause instability. The worse case scenario: Trevor Manuel and Tito Mboweni go within months of one another. 

No, no, there is still another (even) worse case scenario: Mboweni, Manuel and Mandela all leave the stage within a few months of each other. But, let’s not sound alarmist. 

I couldn’t find anything in the Constitution, the Reserve Bank Act, or the regulations thereto, prohibiting Mboweni from accepting a third term. As far as I could make out, Mboweni could go on as long as he wanted to. And really, there is no reason to throw out a man who obviously knows what he’s doing. And is still very young. South Africa simply hasn’t got so many “potential central bank governors” hanging around, to just throw Mboweni out – and with him the government’s hard-won market credibility. 

Nevertheless, at this point it seems very, very likely to happen. In fact, in the next 18 months South Africa could be without it’s 2 best functionaries in the Mbeki era, namely Manuel and Mboweni. 

If the prospect of this happening doesn’t make the forex markets nervous in coming months, I’ll eat my hat.

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Dec 12 2008

Enter the new rand-killer

Published by under Opinion,Top Stories

A year has passed since I suggested politics would start asserting downward pressure on the SA rand. Since then the rand has weakened by about 30% – mostly due to the financial markets crisis. The political factor hasn’t really come into play yet. But, I expect it to start happening soon. And I have friends in high places to back me up, such as the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). [Read on]

2 responses so far

Dec 11 2008

The blogger’s adrenalin kick

Published by under More News,Opinion,South Africa

This blog is really about hard news. More specifically, news made by South African businesses in Europe. But, every now and then I indulge in an opinion piece, or crystal ball gazing. And then get a helluva kick when my “forecasts” later turn out to be spot-on.      [Read on]

2 responses so far

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